NZ Nature Services links location-specific information (such as soils and climate) with the planting purpose and function to generate a plant list of suitable native plants. Information about each plant includes its growth form and size, recommended plant spacing, tolerances for drought, frost or salt winds, and whether it is suitable for planting at the start of the project or needs the shelter of other plants to give it a good start. Diagrams and profile graphics help users to map out the various planting zones and decide on any design requirements.
Anyone can use NZ Nature Services - in just three clicks and you have created a customised planting list (and other information). First, select your planting type/purpose from Urban, Stormwater, Riparian, Wetland, Rural, Dune etc (and various subcategories), then click on your location (zoomed down on the map to an individual neighbourhood), and generate the plant list with the final click!
Ecological services provided by the plants (leaves, fruits or flowers supporting various types of biodiversity, provision of erosion control, shelter, water purification or pollination for instance) are also noted so that plants can be selected to provide a wide variety of ecological functions.
NZ Nature Services' development was supported by Landcare Research alongside a number of councils. While the work continues (adding more pictures, common and Maori names for plants as well as landscape profile graphics) NZ Nature Services is up and running. Go to http://natureservices.landcareresearch.co.nz/app/ to test it out for a project in your neighbourhood.
The NZ Nature Services team welcomes any feedback or suggestions and can be contacted via Landcare Research's Christine Harper (04 382 6644).