Journal Number 93
November 2005


NZNOG Mapping Scheme
By Gordon Sylvester

A few years ago NZNOG mounted a project to identify the orchid population in various parts of New Zealand. The basis was to record what orchids were found and the location and date of the finding. The majority of the information came from a small cadre of amateurs and in some instances courtesy of DoC area offices.

One of the effects has been to display just how many species would be found and also that there were, and still are a lot of orchids out there undescribed or unrecognised.

Coincidentally, in about 1982 a proposal to create Ecological Regions/Districts was made,
in order to formalize a few ad hoc local schemes.

Quite a few of our members feel that they could not properly identify all of the plants they found. Quite simply the easiest way to record any information is by looking at the flower if present and either supply a photo of the flower or try to describe the colours as simply as possible. Try and avoid designer colours. Of course if you have any of our experienced members living nearby, a polite phone call will generally get an offer of assistance.

The group will restart the mapping scheme using the existing database and information as shown in the second edition of the Field Guide and our Journal. Just because you find an orchid in a specific location, may not mean it has been recorded from that area in the past. None of us have a photographic memory or are able to recall the names of all the Ecological Districts. For example you may find four different orchids in flower while on a picnic visit with the family. A good start is to record the plants, the date, and a recognised locality.

It would also be nice to get a grid reference if you are skilled enough to do this, but not everyone can decipher this particular jigsaw puzzle of numbers. A simple location, White Pine Bush near Tongioio or Ngatamawahine clearing Urewera N.P. is fine. We generally will not know local names to a specific point but a locality will give a good clue to the Ecological District.

This project also serves to keep up to date the Field Guide information and is also published in our Journal.

What's in it for me you might ask: quite simply, helping to log our species and define their area of habitat to achieve a better understanding of our flora. Even now we cannot say with certainty that we can clearly identify the full extent or distribution of any particular genus/species. A look at any one of our journals usually shows a new record or an amendment to an existing record.

How to record the observation: simply an email if convenient or a postcard are the simplest means otherwise a letter or even a structured observation record is acceptable. Sorry verbal records are prone to error and are not encouraged.

Who to contact: Gordon Sylvester, Beach Road, Kumara, West Coast, email .

If necessary I can give you the name of a person nearby who may be able to assist in identification. Remember you are not allowed to collect plants from any Scenic Reserve, Forest Park, or National Park; please seek permission from the owners or administrators of land. Do not collect any more than three to five plants. Generally try to take a photo rather than remove a plant. If there is only a small number of plants do not remove any of them.

Some forest owners will allow entry on a permit system; you need to enquire if it is permissible to remove plants for botanical identification and recording; please err on the side of caution in all cases.

Finally get out and enjoy the environment: even a casual look around may surprise you as to what is nearby.




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