Additional light may be let in. Wind can get in. The eventually decaying trunk will provide organic material for soil rejuvenation and so on. When several trees fall with very wet feet, inadequate root systems etc the consequences may be greater. When even more trees are felled by the addition of very strong wind the ecological issues escalate.
There is no doubt that the removal of the pines above Sunshine Bay contributed to the die-back and wind assisted toppling of many Beech trees over the southerly ridge from the Pine Forest and in to Days Bay. To imply that the death of the Beech trees was an almost direct result of the trees being cut from 2006 is simply not good ecological reasoning.
With the Pine Forest over the ridge (shown above) gone, other trees that had grown in it's shelter were now more exposed to the elements. Immediately after the first 'wet feet' and 'wind-blow' fall of pine trees in 2004, trees all around took a beating. First, of course, it was the neighbouring pine trees to those that had fallen - to natures hand, not man's.
The same storms had afflicted the Wellington City pine forest on the Tinakori hills (also 2004) and forced the WCC to lead the way in removing the remainder of their pine forest.
HCC council began cutting in 2005 and as already noted earlier a small stand of Beech on the edge of the northern Days Bay ridge were the first taller trees to die back. Other beech trees that had not grown in the lee of the forest, remained strong and unaffected. Medium height native specimens that had also begun to grow on that northern ridge in the lee of the pine forest also were burnt off.
It looks a mess now from afar but close up it a an amazing seedling bed. The uprooted trees effectively loosened soil, provided protection from the sun and moisture retention in the area immediately behind the root balls. There is probably going to be much faster return to a stronger forest than existed before, than if regrowth was happening following a fire.
My next post will consider a little of what we know of this area going back about 150 years. The Bays were cleared, burnt (on purpose and by accident) and farmed. Roads were cut into the hillside, sections were cleared and houses built.