Advanced Search | Help
18 April 2006
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry's just released annual forest
description report shows for the first time there has been a slight drop in the
country's planted forest area.
The National Exotic Forest Description (NEFD) database report is produced in
partnership with the New Zealand Forest Owners' Association and the New
Zealand Farm Forestry Association. This forest industry/Government partnership
has been in place since the 1980s and has been extremely effective in ensuring
a national forest database has been maintained during a period of unprecedented
forest ownership changes.
Its information is compiled from a survey of forest owners and consultants
who own or manage planted production forests. For the first time, the report
records a small decrease in New Zealand's planted forest area.
The report shows radiata pine is the dominant species, making up 89 percent
of the planted forest area, with Douglas-fir the next most common species,
making up six percent. The balance comprises other softwood and hardwood
Also a first, the report this year includes information on cypress and
MAF Principal Adviser, Paul Lane says this year's NEFD quantifies a
relatively new trend of not replanting all forest after harvesting.
At the time of the report survey, some seven thousand hectares of harvested
forest land was not going to be replanted in the year to March 2005. Most of
this 'deforestation' occurred in the Central North Island and
Canterbury, mostly converted to pasture.
"New Zealand has always had a relatively dynamic landscape, so changes
in land use are not unusual," says Paul Lane. "However,
historically little plantation forest land has been converted to
pasture." The 7,000 ha of deforestation represents about 18 percent
of the forest area harvested in the year ended March 2005.
Harvest volumes declined from a high of 23 million cubic metres in the year
ended March 2003 to 18.3 million cubic metres (year ended March 2005).
However Mr Lane says with the recent fall in the New Zealand dollar it is
expected that forest harvesting will begin to rise again.
"While this is not yet reflected in the statistics, industry sources
and media reports indicate the increased harvesting has already begun,"
Mr Lane says.
MAF forecasts indicate harvesting could increase up to a sustainable yield
of around 27 million cubic metres by 2010. The rate of increase will be driven
by economic and international market conditions, but may be somewhat
constrained by labour availability and a lack of capital investment in forestry
infrastructure and wood processing capacity.
For further information, please contact:
Principal Adviser, Policy, Paul Lane, Ph. 04 819 0625 or 027 498 9084
or Information Analyst, Policy, Judith Dennis, Ph 04 819 0741