Increased opportunities for Central North Island forest industry

3 December 2009

A steady increase in regional wood availability will lead to new opportunities for the Central North Island (CNI) wood processing sector and the wider community, say the authors of the latest wood availability forecast report.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry today released its CNI region Forest Industry and Wood Availability Forecasts Report, providing the economic and social context to the regions predicted increase in wood availability.

The current annual harvest level is around 9 million cubic metres. Future wood availability is forecast to be around 12 to 13 million cubic metres per annum leading into the 2020's.

MAF Principal Analyst Paul Lane says the report aims to assist forestry industries, planning practitioners, and infrastructure and service providers to plan resources, maximise opportunities and identify issues related to the availability of wood.

"There is the opportunity to expand wood processing in the region through the increased utilisation of existing processing plants facilities, developing new product lines or potentially through new plants."

"An increase in harvesting could also lead to more opportunities to grow both the industrial and residential use of wood as a source of bioenergy, particularly if energy prices continue to rise. Wood currently supplies about seven percent of total energy use in New Zealand. The region has two wood pellet plants and the wood pellet industry has experienced rapid growth internationally over the past few years."

"Beyond timber and wood values, people are increasingly recognising the environmental benefits of forests such as improving water quality and reducing soil erosion. Forests are also valued for the recreation and tourism opportunity they provide."

The Central North Island Forest Industry and Wood Availability Forecasts Report is one of a series of publications on regional forestry industries and wood availability forecasts produced by MAF.

It provides wood availability forecasts and associated commentary for the region, out to 2040, and outlines opportunities and constraints facing the region's forest industries.

The forecasts have been produced in association with the region's major forest owners.

A copy of the report can be found at: Central North Island Forest Industry and Wood Availability Forecasts.

Media contact:

Deborah Gray | Senior Communications Advisor | MAF Communications
Phone: 04-894-0715 | Mobile: 029-894-0715 | Email: deborah.gray@maf.govt.nz

Report highlights

  • Radiata pine makes up 92 percent (493 000 hectares) and Douglas fir about 4 percent (22 700 hectares) of the forest area in the CNI region. There are about 17 000 hectares of other exotic hardwood and softwood species in the CNI; these have not been modelled in this analysis.
  • A significant proportion of processed wood products are exported through the Port of Tauranga. Port of Tauranga is also the countries largest log exporter. In the year to June 2009 around 3.1 million tonnes of logs were exported from Tauranga.
  • Most of the potential increase in wood availability leading into the 2020 is from the small-scale forest growers who established forests during the 1990s. Most of this wood is not committed to any particular processing plant.
  • The timing of harvest leading into the 2020 will depend on the decisions of small-scale owners. Market conditions and logistical constraints will limit how quickly the additional wood availability from small-scale owners' forests can be harvested in that period.

Contact MPI

for general enquiries phone

0800 00 83 33