Effects of Deforestation
“The rapid deforestation going on in New Zealand, and the manner in which fine belts of growing timber have been destroyed in various backblocks districts by single minded settlers, are matters which have caused the thinking men of this country very considerable uneasiness.
… It is a belief generally entertained that the removal of a forest brings frequent droughts, and general aridity; and also renders a country very liable to floods.
… A forest, it was contended, acted as a sponge, gathering up a rainfall and liberating it gradually, thus maintaining, all the year round, a fairly equable condition of humidity.”
—- Wairarapa Daily Times December 22, 1910
While this article goes on to provide proof from other international sources that creating arable land from forests does not guarantee the results above, it is clear here in Godzone that the extent of our farming activities into hillcountry that may have been better left with a protective mantle of bush has set off a chain of events that much research, government and local body policy, funding, development finance and labour have tried to remedy since. Over 100 years in fact.
Soils that struggle to keep themselves attached to hillsides, gathering together viscously as rain patters down percolating straight through stock grazed pastures, to slide and tumble headlong to the lowest point, streams and roads below, gouging and reshaping the land while changing aquatic habitats and traffic routes.
And our native bush is so beautiful.