Invasive species in New Zealand

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A number of introduced species, some of which have become invasive species, have been added to New Zealand's native flora and fauna. Both deliberate and accidental introductions have been made from the time of the first human settlement, with several waves of Polynesian[1] people at some time before the year 1300,[2] followed by Europeans after 1769.[3]

Almost without exception,[4] the introduced species have been detrimental to the native flora and fauna but some, such as farmed sheep and cows and the clover upon which they feed, now form a large part of the economy of New Zealand. Registers, lists and indexes of species that are invasive, potentially invasive, or a threat to agriculture or biodiversity are maintained by Biosecurity New Zealand.[5]

Clematis vitalba (old man's beard) smothering a cabbage tree (Cordyline australis) in the Port Hills of Christchurch

Animal species[edit]

Many invasive animal species are listed in schedules 5 and 6 of the Wildlife Act 1953. Those in Schedule 5 have no protection and may be killed. Those in Schedule 6 are declared to be noxious animals and subject to the Noxious Animals Act 1956. In 2016 the New Zealand government introduced Predator Free 2050, a project to eliminate all non-native predators (such as rats, possums and stoats) by 2050.[6]

Some of the invasive animal species are as follows.

Plant species[edit]

The National Pest Plant Accord, with a listing of about 120 genus, species, hybrids and subspecies, was developed to limit the spread of plant pests. Invasive plants are classified as such on a regional basis with some plants declared as national plant pests. The Department of Conservation also lists 328 vascular plant species as environmental weeds.[16]

Some of the better-known invasive plant species are:

The city of Auckland has been declared to be the weediest city in the world.[19][20]

See also[edit]

Animals in New Zealand[edit]

Plants in New Zealand[edit]


  1. ^ Howe, K. R. (2003). The Quest for Origins. p. 179. ISBN 0-14-301857-4.
  2. ^ Rat remains help date New Zealand's colonisation. New Scientist. 4 June 2008. Retrieved 23 June 2008.
  3. ^ Abel Tasman did not land, so is unlikely to have introduced anything.
  4. ^ It has been suggested that the harrier hawk may have benefited.
  5. ^ "Registers, List and Indexes". MAF Biosecurity New Zealand. Retrieved 2012-01-22.
  6. ^ Roy, Eleanor Ainge (2016-07-25). "No more rats: New Zealand to exterminate all introduced predators". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-01-21.
  7. ^ a b c Lowe S., Browne M., Boudjelas S. and de Poorter M. (2000, updated 2004). 100 of the World's Worst Invasive Alien Species: A selection from the Global Invasive Species Database. The Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG), a specialist group of the Species Survival Commission (SSC) of the World Conservation Union (IUCN), Auckland.
  8. ^ "Trichosurus vulpecula alien range". Global Invasive Species Database. Retrieved 2009-04-10.
  9. ^ "Erinaceus europaeus alien range". Global Invasive Species Database. Retrieved 2009-04-09.
  10. ^ "Oryctolagus cuniculus alien range". Global Invasive Species Database. Retrieved 2009-04-10.
  11. ^ "Mustela furo alien range". Global Invasive Species Database. Retrieved 2009-04-10.
  12. ^ "Mus musculus alien range". Global Invasive Species Database. Retrieved 2009-04-09.
  13. ^ "Mustela erminea alien range". Global Invasive Species Database. Retrieved 2009-04-10.
  14. ^ "Plague skinks". Wellington, NZ: Department of Conservation. Retrieved 7 May 2017.
  15. ^ "Management of invasive freshwater fish: striking the right balance!" (PDF). Department of Conservation. There will be sites where the Department will want to eradicate salmonids species because they pose a significant threat to the maintenance of a threatened species or ecosystem...
  16. ^ a b Howell, Clayson (May 2008). Consolidated list of environmental weeds in New Zealand (PDF). DRDS292. Wellington: Department of Conservation. ISBN 978-0-478-14413-0. Retrieved 2009-05-06.
  17. ^ "New Zealand imports insects to fight plant invader". BBC News. 2017-01-19. Retrieved 2017-01-21.
  18. ^ "Castor oil plant". Auckland Council. Retrieved 23 December 2018.
  19. ^ "Media release: Doctors prescribe attitude change for World's weediest city". Landcare Research. 23 January 2006. Archived from the original on November 27, 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-16.
  20. ^ Landcare Research. "Attitude change prescribed for weedy Auckland" (Press release). Snoop. Auckland has the dubious honour of being the weediest city in the world, with 220 weeds (and climbing).

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]