“We know that ecological isolation—either by seawater or by other sorts of delimitation—correlates strongly with risk of extinction”
― David Quammen, The Song of the Dodo: Island Biogeography in an Age of Extinctions
Without a doubt, New Zealand is a biodiversity hotspot; A country consisting of two islands that have evolved independently for 80 million years, accompanied by strong latitudinal, elevational, and geosynclinical gradients.
With such strong heterogeneity in the landscape, New Zealand is home to a plethora of different habitats. From wind swept tussocks, to lush beech forests, to alpine, to sub tropical scrub. Not to mention you can drive from the Tasman Sea across to the South Pacific Ocean in less than a day across either island.
80% of the plants, 90% of the insects, and all of the reptiles in New Zealand are endemic. Though with not as high of a percentage of endemism, birds rule this island for until humans reached the island there are thought to have been no top predatory mammals, other than marine mammals. In fact, the only native terrestrial mammals known to the island are bats.
While insular biogeography coupled with time, and environmental gradient evolutionarily pairs quite well with rarity, and extinction, it also couples well with invasion biology. Many species have been brought over to New Zealand that have now become a problem, such as the Australian possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) and Pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana).
Rainbow trout were first brought over to New Zealand in the 1880s and Browns in the 1890s. Although non-native, these introduced salmonids are worshiped by native and foreign anglers alike. Coupled with the beautiful mountainous backdrops, and unique flora and fauna of the region, it is no question why fly fishing in New Zealand is every anglers dream.
Since December, I have been in the Southern Hemisphere, learning about the world in a whole new way.
New ecosystem, new life, new hemisphere, new time zone, new ocean.
The adventure continues….
But for now, some photos: