Provenance variation in podocarpus totara

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Podocarpus totara1 is widely distributed in lowland
forests throughout the country from sea level to 600 m
in the North Island and to 500 m in the South Island. In
parts of thecentral North Island it forms a major
component of native conifer forests on deep pumice
deposits often in mixture with Prumnopitys taxifolia
(D. Don) Laubenf. but also Dacrydium cupressinum,
and to alesser extent Dacrycarpus dacrydioides (A.
Rich.) Laubenf. and Prumnopitys ferrugineus (D. Don)
Laubenf. In the South Island P. totara is found mainly
in scattered small pockets on the most fertilesoils
(Hinds and Reid, 1957). In farming districts such as
Northland, Waikato, and Horowhenua, small stands or
isolated trees of short stature and rounded crowns are
now a common landscapefeature. The species is a
pioneer invader of grassland where there is a local seed
source and birds to distribute seed. It is relatively
unpalatable to grazing stock with trees often growing
P. totara is of considerable cultural value, long
prized by Maori for its durable and easily worked
timber for carvings and construction of canoes. Until
recently it was used extensivelyfor posts, house piles,
and exterior joinery. Most forests containing mature P.
totara have now been protected and other materials
have been substituted for previous timber uses.
1 Nomenclaturefollows Allan (1961) except where noted.
However, with the resurgence in cultural activities and
use of indigenous timbers for furniture and wall
panelling, there is an increasing demand for long-termsupplies of indigenous timber species including P.
A recent survey by the Forest Research Institute
(F.R.I.; Bergin and Pardy, 1990) indicates that P. totara
is planted widely in parksand on farmland. Height
growth averages 30 cm annually for nursery-raised
seedlings planted on upland sites, with faster growth at
lower elevations. Trees in two 50-year-old P. totara
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