Root Systems:

The Roots of Regeneration

Looking up, it might seem obvious that tree canopy size and shape will affect tree spacing in a restoration project, but an equally crucial aspect lies beneath the surface - the intricate and often overlooked root systems.

The differences in root systems have cascading effects on the surrounding environment, due to their unique adaptations and relationships, enabling them to absorb water and nutrients from the soil at different depths. These systems also play a vital role in soil stabilization, preventing erosion, and supporting the overall ecosystem health.
In the realm of root systems, native New Zealand species stand in stark contrast to the introduced Pinus radiata, currently monopolizing a staggering 90% of New Zealand's carbon compliance market.

Native vs Pine
Root Systems

The native New Zealand species - adapted over millennia to
the local environment - thrive here, developing diverse,
extensive, and intricate root systems. These roots are integral
to ecosystem health, playing a pivotal role in moisture retention, soil enrichment, and providing support for a diverse range
of organisms.

Pine trees, reared in commercial monocultures, tell a different story. Their root systems, characterised by their long and narrow taproot of a compact nature, promote rapid growth and ease of cultivation, however, come with significant trade-offs. These pine-dominated landscapes are ecological deserts, providing none of the seeds, fruits, and flowers needed by indigenous species. Moreover, less carbon is absorbed in the soil compared to that of a biodiverse forest, primarily due to differences in the root systems and decomposition rates of organic matter.
The inherent shallowness of pine roots makes them vulnerable to wind, flooding, and disease, while their root systems struggle to combat soil erosion and lag in their ability to foster soil vitality and biodiversity, a stark contrast to their native counterparts. This ecological imbalance reverberates throughout local ecosystems.


Native trees are the ‘Lungs of the World’ and our natural-tool to fight climate change and biodiversity loss. At TAHI 8.8 million trees have been regenerated or planted. Enter our self-regenerating forest.