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29 October 2008
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) has approved in principle 25 applications under the East Coast Forestry Project's (ECFP) 2008 funding round which will cover a further 2238 hectares of new erosion control projects in Gisborne.
The projects will cost over $3.5 million and cover erosion treatments commencing in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
"The total area approved is actually lower than in 2007 but the combined approvals over the last three years indicates that establishment programmes being undertaken this year are likely to be double that last year," says Randolph Hambling, MAF's Gisborne based North Island Regional Manager for Sustainable Programmes.
"The increasing level of new establishments may be a possible reflection of strong interest in the potential co-benefits of carbon farming through MAF's Permanent Forest Sink Initiative," Mr Hambling said.
The Permanent Forest Sink Initiative (PFSI) which promotes the establishment of permanent forests and provides carbon credits for landowners can be used in conjunction with ECFP grants.
"Many landowners may also wish to achieve effective tree cover on their severely eroding land as required by the Gisborne District Council," he said.
Forestry treatments which include Radiata pine, Douglas fir and Eucalyptus species account for 53% of the 2238 hectare area approved. Indigenous reversion treatments account for 44% and wide spaced poplar and willow treatments account for 3% of the area approved.
"Indigenous reversion treatments are becoming a very popular treatment option in the last few years, particularly with Maori landowners. Maori land, which has around 28% of the district's severe erosion, accounts for 15 out of the 25 applications. This is 42% of the total area approved," Mr Hambling said.
As at 30 June 2008, sustainable land management has been achieved on 33,000 hectares of the most severely eroding land, with a further 7000 hectares approved awaiting establishment. In total, 315 ECFP grants have been awarded to landowners in the Gisborne District.
Mr Hambling says this is a great achievement for sustainable land management and erosion control in Gisborne where erosion is a severe problem.
"Together with the Gisborne District Council, we are committed to continue working with landowners through funding and advising on control measures that can effectively manage erosion and other issues that result from it such as sedimentation and an increased risk of flooding."
The Government established the East Coast Forestry Project in 1992 as a response to erosion damage to the district following Cyclone Bola. The scheme provides grants for various soil conservation treatments.
26 percent of Gisborne district's land is susceptible to severe erosion, compared with only 8 percent of all land in New Zealand.
Prasheeta Ram-Taki | MAF Communications
Phone: 64-4- 894 5535 | Mobile: 029-894 5535 | Email: