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Archiving historic New Zealand Forest Service and Timberlands West Coast Forest Surveys

Posted 19 Sep 2022

By Susan Wiser

This project aimed to improve Metadata on some historical forest vegetation plot datasets archived in NVS. The New Zealand Forest Service (NZFS) and Timberlands West Coast (TWC, a former state-owned enterprise) established extensive sample plot networks throughout West Coast forests for informing sustainable timber production. We identified 67 datasets collected between 1962-1999. These extended from the Buller and Maruia catchments in the north, the Inangahua and Grey valleys in central Westland, to the Mahinapua, Mikonui, Wanganui, Whataroa and Karangarua districts to the south.

Once these datasets had been identified, our goal was to improve their future utility by ensuring that Metadata is as comprehensive as possible. We recently interviewed former staff of NZFS, who were involved in designing or implementing forest plot surveys on the West Coast. Key individuals visited the archive, poured over field-sheets and maps, and added any information that they could.

We acknowledge the Brian Mason Scientific and Technical Trust for funding for this work.

Missing Metadata are still an issue for some of these surveys. If you were involved in forest timber cruising or vegetation surveys for the NZFS, and may be able to help, please contact Jenny Hurst (

Sexual systems in NZ angiosperm flora

Posted 19 Sep 2022

McGlone MS, Richardson SJ. 2022. Sexual systems in NZ angiosperm flora. New Zealand Journal of Botany

Used data from NVS to estimate relative contributions to total basal area and stem count by hermaphrodite, monoecious and gender dimorphic tree species.

Newly Available Datasets

Posted 13 Sep 2022

The following datasets are now publicly available. You can request them by going to the NVS search page and searching by their names:
Pirongia Phenology 2020 - Purpose - Quantify species composition at different elevations along the Tahuanui Track (Kaniwhaniwha Stream) so as to dominant species for phenology monitoring;
Balls Clearing 2019 - Purpose - To describe forest composition in an uncommon forest type;
Banks Peninsula Te Oka/Misty Peaks - Purpose - To establish baseline monitoring to assess future changes in forest structure and composition.

Plot and satellite data integrated to map NZ beech forests nationally

Posted 2 Nov 2021

Schindler J, Dymond JR, Wiser SK, Shepherd J. 2021. Method for national mapping spatial extent of southern beeches using temporal spectral signatures. International Journal of Applied Earth Observations and Geoinformation 102: 102408,

Newly available plot datasets

Posted 4 Mar 2021

The following datasets are now publicly available. You can request them by going to the NVS search page and searching by their names: Puketoi Grassland 1988; Taramakau-Deception Forest 1972, 1973 - Purpose - Assess success of animal control operation, establish baseline reference points; Te Anau Wetlands 2018 - Purpose - Quantify wetland composition to link with sediment cores collected and analysed for pollen, ancient DNA and environmental DNA

Species Distribution modelling dataset available

Posted 2 Dec 2020

Elith J, Graham CH, Valavi R, Abegg M, Bruce C, Ford A, Guisan A, Hijmans RJ, Huettmann F, Lohmann L, Loiselle B, Moritz C, Overton J, Peterson AT, Phillips S, Richardson K, Williams SE, Wiser SK, Wohlgemuth T, Zimmermann NE 2020. Presence-only and presence-absence data for comparing species distribution modeling methods. Journal of Biodiversity Informatics 15: 69–80.

NVS stats for 2019/20

Posted 3 Nov 2020

By Susan Wiser

Page views = 28,699 Total number of plot records = 121,574 Datasets supplied = 9,264 Data requests = 140 Registered users = 604 New electronic datasets = 151 Plots added = 1,522

Understanding subalpine succession after fire using one of the longest running NVS datasets and paleoecological data

Posted 1 Oct 2020

Burge OR, Bellingham PJ, Arnst EA, Bonner KI, Burrows LE, Richardson SJ, Wiser SK, Wood JR, Wilmshurst JM. 2020. Integrating permanent plot and palaeoecological data to determine subalpine post‐fire succession, recovery and convergence over 128 years. Journal of Vegetation Science 31: 755-767.

EXCEL Data entry template released

Posted 1 Oct 2020

By Susan Wiser

The NVS team has created an EXCEL template for entering data that are compatible with NVS that can be downloaded here. The files created can be readily uploaded into the databank. To achieve the highest level of data validation and integrity, the NVS team still recommends the use of NVS Express for data entry.

NVS plot data show distributions of divaricating plants explained by interaction of climate and fertility-mediated browsing

Posted 20 May 2020

Lusk CH, Wiser SK, Laughlin DC. 2020. Macroclimate and topography interact to influence the abundance of divaricate plants in New Zealand. Frontiers in Plant Science 11(507).

Distinguishing NZ trees and vegetation with colour aerial imagery

Posted 12 Feb 2020

Kattenborn T, Eichel J, Wiser S, Burrows L, Fassnacht F, Schmidtlein S. 2020. Convolutional Neural Networks accurately predict cover fractions of plant species and communities in Unmanned Aerial Vehicle imagery. Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation. Early view 5 February 2020.

Permanent plots show earthquake impacts

Posted 24 Sep 2019

Allen R, MacKenzie D, Bellingham P, Wiser S, Arnst E, Coomes D, Hurst J. 2019. Tree survival and growth responses in the aftermath of a strong earthquake. Journal of Ecology 107 [early view online].

sPlot a new tool for global vegetation analyses

Posted 19 Feb 2019

By Susan Wiser

This paper presents the sPlot database that has collated vegetation plots globally as a tool to explore global patterns in taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic diversity at the plant community level. The NVS databank has contributed some public domain datasets to sPlot and is a member of the sPlot consortium. Click here to view.

New NVS search tool released

Posted 1 Feb 2019

We have redeveloped the online search tool to make it easier for data users to discover data to meet their needs. The tool allows both text-based and map-based searching. Text-based searching uses intelligent syntax that is more user-friendly than previously. Users can search with any relevant word or phrase and users can narrow down search results by applying multiple filters, including species names. Map-based searching allows a user to browse plot locations across the entire map display or to focus on a specific area that they delineate. As with text searching, results from the map search can be refined by applying multiple filters. Search results identify what datasets are available, and how many plots within them meet the user’s criteria. We welcome any feedback you may have.

NVS User Survey needs you!

Posted 30 Aug 2018

Periodically the team that manages the National Vegetation Survey (NVS) databank seeks input from users to help steer our direction for future years. We have designed a short survey to help our users provide this valuable input. Please take the survey here: Feel free to pass this survey on to others who may be interested

Plot data from Rangitoto island now in NVS databank

Posted 25 May 2018

The NVS databank has recently acquired its first plot data from Rangitoto island. A series of exclosures and controls were established by the NZ Forest Service in 1986 and were remeasured as part of a PhD project, based out of Auckland University.

Ecosystem representation and the Mokihinui dam proposal

Posted 25 May 2018

Newly published: Affeld K, Wiser SK, Payton I, DeCáceres M. 2018. Using classification assignment rules to assess land-use change impacts on forest biodiversity at local-to-national scales. Forest Ecosystems. Forest Ecosystems 5:13

Plot-based classification of NZ vegetation

Posted 25 May 2018

Newly published: Wiser SK, De Cáceres M. New Zealand’s plot-based classification of vegetation. Phytocoenologia 48(2): 153-161. DOI: 10.1127/phyto/2017/0180

NVS Annual report released

Posted 9 Oct 2017

The NVS annual report for 2016-17 is now available at: NVS Annual Report 2016-17

NVS Annual report for 2015-16 released

Posted 16 Nov 2016

The NVS Annual report for 2015-16 has been released. You can view it here

New synthesis published: Achievements and challenges in the integration, reuse and synthesis of vegetation plot data

Posted 13 Jul 2016

Wiser, S. K. (2016), Achievements and challenges in the integration, reuse and synthesis of vegetation plot data. Journal of Vegetation Science. doi: 10.1111/jvs.12419

NVS 2014-15 Annual Report released

Posted 25 Feb 2016

By Susan Wiser

The NVS Annual Report 2014-15 is now available. Click here to view.

NVS data featured in global study mapping tree density

Posted 25 Feb 2016

By Susan Wiser

NVS contributed data to an international study that mapped tree density at a global scale published in the journal Nature. Crowther et al. 2015

New version of NVS Express released

Posted 2 Jun 2015

NVS Express Version 1.3.0 is now available, to download click here This version upgrades the party data tool, provides additional data entry and data export options and fixes bugs. The data entry and analysis manuals have also been revised

Introducing NVS database manager

Posted 14 Jan 2015

Location: Lincoln

Elise Arnst has recently been appointed as our new NVS database manager. Elise has been working with NVS intermittently over the past 4 years, and has experience with both databases and field work. If you have any questions or require help please do not hesitate to get in touch with Elise or 03 321 9622

In memory of Hazel 1976 –2014

Posted 5 Dec 2014

Click this link to view the eulogy Hazel Broadbent McKenzie 1976 –2014

Published in PloS One: NVS data used to assess ability of shrublands to support native tree regeneration

Posted 5 Dec 2014

Mason NWH, Wiser SK, Richardson SJ, Thorsen MJ, Holdaway RJ, Dray S, Thomson FJ, Carswell FE 2013. Functional traits reveal processes driving natural afforestation at large spatial scales. PLoS ONE 8(9): e75219.

NVS species code list enhanced

Posted 26 Nov 2014

By Susan Wiser

The NVS species code list now provides taxonomic names and information on biostatus, palatability, and growthforms. Click here to view.

NVS Annual Report for 2012-13 released

Posted 16 Jan 2014

By Susan Wiser

Download here pdf

DOC conservancy boundaries added to search map

Posted 6 Jul 2013

The search results map now displays the DOC Conservancy boundaries as part of the map. These can be used to further filter results.

New Website is released

Posted 6 Jul 2013

By Nick Spencer

Location: Landcare

Permission required

Datasets require the permission of the owner before they can be downloaded.

Open access

Datasets can be downloaded by any logged in user.

Please provide information on how you are planning to use these data, in particular the potential significance of your project. This helps us report on the value of NVS data and allows us to ensure you have received the data most suited to your purpose.

Vernacular Names


Additional Information (Source National Vegetation Survey Databank)
Bio Status
Growth Form
Threatened Status