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Wednesday, 19 May 2004
The owners of permanent forests established since 1990 will be able to get
Kyoto Protocol carbon credits under a new government climate change policy.
"The future forests programme has been developed to recognise the long-term
value of permanent reforestation, says the Convenor of the Ministerial Group on
Climate Change, Pete Hodgson.
Forests absorb carbon dioxide, one of the major greenhouse gases contributing
to climate change. The Kyoto Protocol recognises this by allocating 'forest
sink' credits for forests planted since its benchmark year of 1990.
For at least the first commitment period of the Protocol [2008-2012] the
government is retaining the forest sink credits and associated deforestation
liabilities that New Zealand receives for commercial plantation forests
established since 1990. However the government recognises that permanent
reforestation creates forest sinks of enduring value, without the deforestation
liability issues and other policy complexities that accompany regular clear-fell
"This programme creates an opportunity for landowners, probably of largely
marginal land, to gain financially by re-establishing permanent forests," Mr
Hodgson said. "Landowners meeting the requirements of the future forests
programme will be able to get internationally tradeable carbon credits they can
bank or sell."
As a further incentive for reforestation, owners will be able to harvest
timber from their forests, but only after 35 years and on a continuous canopy
basis. Earlier harvesting or clearfelling of the forest would incur penalty
Mr Hodgson said credits would be allocated through contracts between forest
land owners and the Crown, registered against land titles and binding all future
The future forests programme will be administered by the Indigenous Forests
Unit of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
Graeme Speden, press secretary, 04 471 9707 / 021 270 9055