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26 March 2004
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry will be stepping up its monitoring of
indigenous forests in the North Island.
A new team of forestry advisers has recently been appointed and will be based at
the Ministry's Rotorua office.
MAF Indigenous Forestry Manager, Rob Miller says MAF has opened up an office in
Rotorua to provide a better service to North Island owners of indigenous
The Indigenous Forestry Unit administers sustainable indigenous forestry on
private land. This allows forest owners and operators to apply for approvals to
harvest and mill native timber provided it is undertaken on the basis of long
term sustainability of the forest.
"The harvesting from native forests is set at a rate that is not greater than
the forest's ability to replace the harvested timber. Management must ensure the
forests natural values are maintained along with their ability to continue to
provide a full range of products and amenities in perpetuity," says Mr Miller.
Mr Miller says there has been some concern that a few forest owners and
sawmillers are taking advantage of current high prices for Rimu and other native
logs and are harvesting trees illegally. He says these people are now more
likely to get caught and prosecuted.
The indigenous forestry unit has also formed closer links with the Special
Investigations Group within MAF and as a result a full time investigator will be
assigned to forestry compliance.
Until now the unit has been based entirely in Christchurch.
It's estimated that there are about half a million hectares of privately owned
indigenous forestry in the North Island. That's about half of the privately
owned indigenous forestry in the country.
Mr Miller says the three new Rotorua-based advisers are now within a few hours
drive of most of the indigenous North Island forest particularly around the
Gisborne, Manawatu/Wanganui and Taranaki areas.
He says as well as monitoring compliance, the new office will be able to provide
a more efficient and effective service with an immediate face-to-face response.
"It will enable us to be on the ground advising and educating forest owners
about sustainable indigenous forest management. Another advantage is that
applications will be turned around much more quickly and efficiently through
improved procedures and more timely inspections. This is good news for the
majority operating within the law but it will also make us more effective in
ensuring that those who obtain approval are sticking to the rules."
For more information contact:
Robert Miller, Manager, MAF Indigenous Forestry Unit
Tel: 03 379 1941, 07-348-0089(Friday), or mobile 021 391 254.