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Attracting native animals

Native animals need a number of conditions if they are to live in forest fragments successfully. All forest birds need year-round food supplies and very few predators so that nesting is safe. Invertebrates thrive in fragments with plenty of moist soil, rotting logs, shade and thick leaf litter on the ground. Fish living in the streams running through forest fragments need good water quality and few aquatic weeds. There are many ways you can help create these conditions to attract native animals to your forest fragment.

Photo of kereru or native wood pigeon, showing how native birds can be attracted to forest fragments by fencing, planting and getting rid of pests On this page: Bringing back the birds, increasing invertebrates, making fragments fish-friendly

Bringing back the birds

  • Fence fragments to help a diverse understorey to develop, and canopy trees to regenerate.
  • Plant trees like miro, karamu, kohuhu, korokio, lemonwood, five-finger, putaputaweta and kohekohe for a winter supply of fruit and/or nectar. Some species have separate male and female (fruit bearing) plants, so plant many saplings of each species to guarantee fruit.
  • Even individual trees of a fruiting or nectar-producing species planted in a garden setting can in time provide a valuable food source, which birds may return to year after year.
  • Stoats, cats, rats and possums eat young birds and eggs. Regularly control these pests, especially just before nesting (around September).
  • Leave dead standing trees for birds like kingfishers to nest in.

Find out more about native birds living in forest fragments and wetlands.

Increasing invertebrates

  • Control the animals which feed on invertebrates – especially possums, rats, mice and hedgehogs.
  • Keep stock out to help develop or maintain a diverse, closed understorey in the fragment.
  • Leave large old or dead trees and rotting logs in the forest for tree weta and other inverterbrates to nest in or feed in.

Find out more about invertebrates living in forest fragments.

Making fragments fish-friendly

You can improve stream habitat for native fish and aquatic invertebrates by:

  • Planting small trees, shrubs and sedges along the stream banks to increase stream shade, reduce water temperature and aquatic weed growth, and provide food.
  • Providing fish ‘ladders’ or access-ways for fish at culverts and crossings.
  • Establishing effective filter zones of dense low plants (even long grass) along the edges of streams and rivers to reduce nutrient and sediment inputs from farmland.

Find out about managing and restoring forest fragments.

Find out how to control pests and weeds which can damage fragment vegetation and threaten native species.


  1. A small, caterpillar-like animal that lives on the forest floor. Peripatus is often called 'the walking worm', as it is neither a worm nor an insect, but a unique animal somewhere in between.