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  • Water yield studies in Otagos

    upland snow tussock


    Alan Mark,PhD, BK (Duke), Hon DSc (Otago), FRSNZ, KNZM,

    Department of Botany,

    University of Otago,


    Chair, Wise Response Society.


  • Pastoral leases in altitudinal corridors:304 leases on 2.6 mill. ha: = 8.553 ha. avge.Old Man Range, Central Otago. 400-1682 m.

    1616 0.2

    1034 3.8

    1061 5.0

    774 5.9

    498 7.2

    335 10.4




    deg C

    Montane Short tussock grassland

    Subalpine Mixed short-tall tuss. grassland

    Low-alpine tall tussock grassland

    High-alpine mixed grassland -cushionfield


  • Snow tussock management and water yield.

    Garvie Mountains, 1600m.

    Localised loss of snow tussock

    cover due to early pastoral

    farming. Reduced water yield

    is an inevitable consequence

    Snow tuss.water yield = 63-80% of

    ann. pptn of 1250-1600 mm.

    All alternative cover yields sig. less.

    Lammerlaw lysimeter siteLysimeter profile

  • Snow tussock features explaining high

    water yields:

    Lammerlaw Ra., 1000 m

    Fog interception Snow


    Leaf anatomy

    Snow accumulation

    Snow retention

  • ECOSYSTEM SERVICES: Maximising water yield and

    trade-offs with exotic afforest.: C storage-sequestration

    Pinus radiata

    Snow tussock grassland

    Differential yield:

    Steady reduction:

    41% at yr 22.

    Pinus radiata

    Ref. Mark & Dickinson 2008.

    Frontiers in Ecology and the

    Environment 6: 25-34.

    Glendhu paired catchments

  • Nov 1998

    Dec 2004

    May 2015

    Mid Dome Upper Tomogalak

    Catchment.Wilding Tree Spread from

    1998- 2015.

  • Duncan MJ, Thomas MB. 2004. Hydrological effects of burning tall tussock grassland on the Lammermoor Range, East Otago, New Zealand. J. Hydrology (NZ) 43: 125-39.

    Fahey, B, Davie, T, Stewart, M. 2011. The application of a water balance model to assess the role of fog in water

    yields from catchments in the east Otago uplands, South Island, New Zealand. J. Hydrol. (NZ) 50: 279-292.

    Fahey B, Ekanayake J, Jackson R, Fenemor A, Davie T, Rowe L. 2000. Using the WATYIELD water balance model

    to predict catchment water yields and low flows. Journal of Hydrology (NZ) 49: 35-58.

    Holdsworth DK, Mark AF. 1990. Water and nutrient input:output budgets: effects of plant cover at seven sites in upland snow tussock grasslands of eastern and central Otago. J. Royal Soc. N.Z. 20: 1-24.

    Ingraham NL, Mark AF. 2000. Isotopic assessment of the hydrological importance of fog deposition on tall snow tussock grass on southern New Zealand uplands. Austral Ecology 25: 402-8.

    Ingraham NL, Mark AF, Frew RD. 2008: Fog deposition by snow tussock grassland on the Otago uplands: responses to a recent review of the evidence. J. Hydrology (NZ): 47: 107-22.

    Mager SM, Trevelyan AM, Wilson PG, Kingston DG. 2016. Quantifying the amount and incidence of fog at a mid-altitude site in the Saint Marys Range, Otago, New Zealand. J.Hydrol (NZ) 55: 107-20.

    Mark AF. 1994. Effects of burning and grazing on sustainable utilisation of upland snow tussock (Chionochloa spp.) rangelands for pastoralism in South Island, New Zealand. Aust. J. Bot. 42: 149-61.

    Mark AF, Dickinson KJM. 2008. Maximizing water yield with indigenous non-forest vegetation: a New Zealand perspective. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 6: 25-34.

    Mark AF, Michel P, Dickinson KJM, McLennan B. 2009. The conservation (protected area) status of New Zealands indigenous grasslands: an update. N. Z. J. Botany 47: 53-60.

    Mark, AF, Rowley J, Holdsworth DK. 1980. Water yield from high-altitude snow tussock grassland in Central Otago.

    Tussock Grasslands and Mountain Lands Review 38: 21-33.

    Martorell C, Ezcurra E. 2007. The narrow-leaf syndrome: a functional and evolutionary approach to the form of fog-

    harvesting rosette plants. Oecologia 151: 561-573.

    Pearce AJ, Rowe LK, OLoughlin CL. 1984. Hydrology of mid-altitude tussock grasslands, upper Waipori

    Catchment, Otago. II. Water balance, flow duration and storm runoff. Journal of Hydrology (NZ) 23: 60-72.

    Rowley J. 1970. Lysimeter and interception studies in narrow-leaved snow tussock grassland. N Z J Bot. 8: 478-93.

    Tussock Grassland Research Committee. 1954. The high-altitude snow tussock grassland in South Island, New Zealand. N. Z. J. Sci. Technol. A36: 335-64.