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New Zealand Journal of Forestry (1992) 37(1): 20–24
©New Zealand Institute of Forestry

Research article
The developement of the concept of steepland protection forestry in New Zealand

Peter McKelvey

The notion of steepland protection forestry developed in Europe at the end of the Middle Ages. By the beginning of the nineteenth century destruction of montane forests in the French Alps and Pyrenees had caused serious flooding and erosion, requiring remedial engineering and re-vegetation measures. About this time there developed in Europe a great deal of scientific interest in forest influences which stimulated similar interest in North America and acknowledgement there of the importance of forests in controlling streamflow and erosion. European and American ideas about protection forests were transferred to New Zealand in the latter half of the nineteenth century and persisted here, little modified, until the 1960s. From then on there has been a great deal of New Zealand research in relevant scientific disciplines which has coalesced to provide a wider context for the study of forest influences in this country. Now the former simple concept of steepland protection forestry imported from overseas has been replaced by more complex ideas, about which there is still debate.
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