While it is probably fair to say that Porirua City has no native communities that have escaped the impacts of human settlement or rural and urban development, Porirua nevertheless boast some ecological 'gems' and fascinating natural processes.
Some notable examples are the sheltered, estuarine harbour with its substantial fish, shellfish and bird populations; extensive terrestrial wetlands, 'attitudinally depressed' cloud forest, remnants of the kohekohe forest long since lost from most North Island wet coast habitats, sizeable remnants of multi-tiered mature hill country forest, actively depositing sand bars, areas so blasted by the prevailing gales that sand is deposited hundreds of metres above sea level, areas ideally suited to populations of lizards, and escarpment screes so influential to beach forming processes that fluctuations in shingle supply determine coastal erosion processes as far away as Paekakariki.
These fascinating environments raise questions of what is necessary to sustain and improve habitat for native species amidst the pressures of modern city and rural life. The Ecological Sites Inventory project arose from Porirua City Council's recognition of the fact that in order to protect and improve it is necessary to what is in Porirua and how it, ecologically speaking, works.
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