This indicator provides information on the extent to which forests are being fragmented over time by human activities and natural processes. Fragmentation may lead to the isolation and loss of species and gene pools, degraded habitat quality, and a reduction in the forest’s ability to sustain the natural processes necessary to maintain ecosystem health.
Most tall indigenous forests occur in large (> 500 hectares) tracts of land that are in public ownership. Small indigenous forest fragments are mainly found on privately owned land. The value of forest fragments for preserving indigenous biodiversity has been the subject of several studies over recent decades. To maximise the retention of indigenous biodiversity in these fragments, both farm stock and introduced pests such as possums and rats need to be excluded.
The extent of fragmentation in New Zealand’s indigenous forests showed little change between 2000 and 2012.