Climate change policy rewards permanent reforestation

Wednesday, 19 May 2004

Government Press Release from Hon Pete Hodgson, Convenor, Ministerial Group on Climate Change

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 harvesting.

"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 payments.

Mr Hodgson said credits would be allocated through contracts between forest land owners and the Crown, registered against land titles and binding all future landowners.

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



Last Updated: 29 September 2010

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