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New Zealand Journal of Forestry (2017) 61(4): 3–6
©New Zealand Institute of Forestry

Feature article
Ecosystem services - an industry perspective

Peter Oliver *,1

1 General Manager, Forest Assets, City Forests, Dunedin. Email:
*Corresponding author.

Abstract: View of early settlers in Otago In 1844 the New Zealand Company’s Principal Agent, Colonel William Wakefield, sent a despatch to the company’s London court of directors describing what he had seen of Otago harbour and its potential for settlement. He described it as ‘steep, with timber covered hillsides and undulating slopes, covered to the water’s edge with beautiful timber and copse wood.’ A less sanguine description by a later settler (no doubt pining for the managed woodlands of home) described it as covered in ‘dark sombre forest, reeking with misty vapours, and hanging on the steep hillsides right down to the water’s edge, while the dripping mist rested like a pall overhead, shutting out sun and landscape alike.’ Despite the early abundance of timber, rapid and at times indiscriminate clearance led within a remarkably few short years to a cleared and grassed landscape and to worrying shortages of timber for many settlers. Today Dunedin, and particularly the Otago Peninsula, is surrounded by a relatively bare rural landscape. Predominantly grassed paddocks are classified as an ‘Outstanding Landscape’ and forestry is restricted because of its propensity to ‘hide the underlying landform’ (Dunedin City Council District Plan).
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