New Zealand is a country located at the Southern Hemisphere. Due to its location, it is a remote land. It is south-east of the Pacific Ocean and is just 2000 kilometers from Australia. It is one of the last sizable territories suitable for habitation to be populated and settled (Britannica Online, 2007). Its capital city is Wellington, considered as the southernmost capital city in the world. Basically, it is composed of two main islands and a few smaller ones that are located at the center of the water hemisphere. The North Island is called Te-Ika-a-Maui while the South Island is called Te-Wai-Pounamu in Maori (Infoplease.com).
Its total land area is just 268, 680 square kilometers, a little less than that of Italy (Rosenberg). Among its smaller islands, Stewart Island or the Rakiura and Waiheke Island are the most occupied. New Zealand has one of the largest Exclusive Economic Zones in the world. It is a zone, usually 200 nautical miles from the coast, wherein a country has special rights over its use and exploration. Climate The climate all throughout New Zealand is moderate. Usual temperatures do not fall beyond 0o Celsius or hotly rise above 30o Celsius.
However, its climatic situations are amazing varied among its different region. While some of its regions are experiencing wet climatic conditions, some are having semi-parched conditions, and some are having subtropical conditions. Of the main cities in New Zealand, Auckland is the wettest, receiving almost twice of the amount of rainfall than that which Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch receive per year combined (Rosenberg). Geography New Zealand is a fragment of a partly-submerged continent called Zealandia which was originally one with Antarctica and Australia until a tectonic plate shift took place.
There are as many as 18 peaks reaching 3000 meters in this island. However, the North Island has less mountains, and marked by active volcanism. The tallest mountain in North Island is Mount Ruapehu which rises about 2797 meters and is an active cone volcano (Rosenberg). Flora and Fauna New Zealand has a wonderful flora and fauna because of its long and undisturbed isolation from human habitation and its unique geographical location. It is amazing to note that 80% of its flora is endemic. It has two main types of forests and the remaining vegetation types are grasslands (Allan).
Until the habitation of humans, New Zealand was 80% forested. Furthermore, a discovery of bones that belonged to a long-extinct, mouse-sized land bat in the South Island disproved the thought that there were no none-marine native mammals that ever existed. Marine life is gracefully abundant in New Zealand, having a diverse collection of different species of whales, dolphins, and fishes. The world’s rarest dolphin is only found at the depths of New Zealand’s vast waters. Long ago, New Zealand had a diverse population of animal species in its forests.
Most of the endemic species of birds in New Zealand are flightless because there were only few natural predators that coexisted with them. Kiwi, New Zealand’s national symbol, is a flightless bird. Reptiles present in New Zealand include skinks, geckos, and tuatara. There are also four species of primitive frogs that can only be found in New Zealand. It is also amazing to find that there are no snakes in New Zealand and there is only one venomous spider which is restricted only to the country’s coastal regions. Moreover, in the class Insecta, endemic species are also populous in the country.
One of these is the heaviest insect in the world—the “weta” (Allan). The hunting of birds and other animals and bringing of more predators by New Zealand’s early settlers eventually led to extinction and endangerment of its wildlife. Summary Because New Zealand is a relatively small country, just the size of Colorado, it is an excellent test case in the study of environmental history. More so, human impact is very recent and European settlement occurred at a later date that’s why the environmental records of the country are in good order. Consequently, very thorough studies can be done for New Zealand.
It is also important to note that the country has a massive variation in terms of its topology, climate, and biology. Consequently, studies regarding different types of ecologies are possible and much easier to conduct compared to many other countries. Studies about the environment of New Zealand are various and include comparative studies on wind damage and response in its forests, influence of pastoral management on its plant biodiversity, analysis of its vegetation, and its plant germination (Sullivan). In New Zealand, earthquakes are common in the country though rarely severe and damaging.
Environmental issues include deforestation, soil erosion and endangered natural native flora and fauna.
Allan, H. “Indigenous Tracheophyta- Psilopsida, Lycopsida, Filicopsida, Gymnospermae, Dicotelydons. ” Flora of New Zealand I. Botany Division (1982). “New Zealand. ” Encyclop? dia Britannica. 2007. Encyclop? dia Britannica Online. 6 June 2007 <http://www. britannica. com/eb/article-9108762>. Infoplease. com. “New Zealand. ” 2007. Rosenberg, Matt. “Geography: New Zealand. ” 2005. Sullivan, Jon. New Zealand Journal of Ecology. 2007.