Forest Health Collections

Scion holds the largest sample collections and databases relating to forest health in New Zealand.

Fungal Collection

The extensive fungus collection managed by Scion specialises in fungus pertaining to trees - both native and exotic. The herbarium contains approximately 3000 collections of pathogenic and saprophytic (particularly wood decaying) fungi (and a few algae and lichens) from temperate New Zealand native forests, exotic plantations and urban amenity plantings.

There is also a small collection of pathogenic fungi from western North America. The culture collection holds approximately 1600 isolates of a similar range of fungi as the herbarium. These collections have their origins back in the 1920s New Zealand Forest Service.

Herbarium loans are made to other herbaria rather than to individuals. Cultures are priced at $US150.00 each unless it is for genuine scientific research in which case there is no charge. If you require a culture for science research, please include a reference from your organisation outlining the nature of this research. Payment must be made before cultures are dispatched.

National Forest Insect Collection (FRNZ)

The National Forest Insect Collection contains entomological specimens, and consists mainly of forest insects and insects affecting timber in use. This particular focus makes it the most comprehensive collection of insects related to forestry in New Zealand. The collection was established in 1948, and now contains approximately 100,000 pinned specimens and 44,000 in ethanol.

The insect collection contains adults gathered during forest surveys and trapping, and those reared from field-collected caterpillars and wood boring larvae. Parasitoids are well represented, as are immature stages. Also in the collection are the many exotic insects discovered during quarantine inspections of imported timbers, casewood and dunnage. Major holdings are Coleoptera (Cerambycidae, Scolytidae, Curculionidae); Lepidoptera (Tortricidae, Noctuidae, Geometridae); Hymenoptera (Ichneumonidae).

The National Forest Insect Collection is an essential research, diagnostic and archival resource for forest health work both in New Zealand and overseas. In particular, the collection is used routinely to provide identification and diagnostic services for two major pest detection surveillance programmes: the Ministry for Primary Industry’s High Risk Site Surveillance programme and the New Zealand Forest Owners Association’s Forest Surveillance Programme. The purpose of both of these programmes is early identification of new to New Zealand insects or pathogens or disease behaviours that could have significant biosecurity implications for New Zealand’s trees and forests. The collection is also utilized to train individuals in morphological identification, which supports our diagnostic services.

Areas of research supported by the insect collection include major taxonomic revisions and development of diagnostic tools, such as DNA barcoding for rapid diagnoses of pests discovered as immature life stages. Outputs supported by FRNZ include the following:

Bain J, Sopow, S, Bulman L. 2012. The Sirex Woodwasp in New Zealand: History and Current Status. In: The Sirex Woodwasp and its Fungal Symbiont: Research and Management of a Worldwide Invasive Pest. Slippers B, de Groot B, Wingfield MJ (Eds). Springer. 301 pp.

Schiff NM, Goulet H, Smith DR, Boudreault C, Wilson AD, Scheffler BE. 2012. Siricidae (Hymenoptera: Symphyta: Siricoidea) of the Western Hemisphere. Canadian Journal of Arthropod Identification 21:1-39.

Henderson RC. 2011. Diaspididae (Insecta: Hemiptera: Coccoidea). Fauna of New Zealand 66, 275 pp.

FRNZ Curator: Stephanie Sopow

BUGS database

The BUGS database contains information about all wood and bark boring insects intercepted at New Zealand's border. This database covers the period between 1948 and 1999 and is owned by Scion.

A supplementary database contains information about fungi and egg masses intercepted between 1996 and 2000.

This valuable data is used for risk analysis purposes to determine likely pathways of incursion.

For more information contact Lindsay Bulman