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(and possibly bed-rock) separating the Parapara River from the upper Glen Gyle. The alluvial material removed from the tunnel may have been used to form an impressive embankment, now reclaimed by native forest, along the western side of the swamp. This 'stop-bank' is one of many relics from the mining era, and together with old pack-tracks and water races the site is historically very interesting.
1.2. Observations of the site.
My experience with the project and the site is fourfold:
My observations were recorded on site by dictaphone and selected visual aspects recorded in photographs. Background information is derived from a Tasman District Council rainfall map, NZMS topographic map Sheet 260 M25 (2002), and Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences, Geological Map 9 (1998). My comments have been assisted by a current involvement with an Overview of Biodiversity study for the Tasman District Council.
2. EXISTING VEGETATION AND FLORA.
The site is located within the North-West Nelson Ecological Region. This region is noted for its geological, topographic, climatic and biological diversity. It is one of the major centers of species diversity in New Zealand (especially among the high altitude ecosystems) and is noted as a refuge from ice age extinctions (especially the lowland forest ecosystems). The site lies approximately at the border of two Ecological Districts, namely, Golden Bay, which is a lowland district primarily based on coastal and alluvial ecosystems, and Wangapeka, which is a mountainous district traversing the whole of the Tasman Mountains.
As is typical of much of the Golden Bay ecological district the original vegetation around the lowland border of the site has been cleared for farming, mining or logging. Patches of farmland occur to the west of the site and within it most of the vegetation has been logged and burnt or cleared in association with gold mining. Much of this has regenerated. On the plateau-like slopes around the western edge the regeneration forms a pakihi-like vegetation dominated by manuka. Elsewhere, on steeper, better drained sites the vegetation has progressed from dense gorse and hakea to emergent tree ferns and seral (colonizing) broad-leaved species, especially mahoe. Within this cover of secondary vegetation there are gully or stream-side remnants of original forest. In the lowest areas this is a coastal-lowland forest composed of hard beech, kahikatea, northern rata, pukatea and nikau. Inland, with increasing altitude onto the lower portions of the Wangapeka District, the forest becomes continuous and consists of mixed hard beech and rimu, with silver beech becoming dominant with increasing altitude.