Obligations when you deforest forest land
If you deforest forest land you may need to meet certain obligations under the emissions trading scheme (ETS). This includes notifying MPI and filing an emissions return.
There are some situations where these deforestation obligations don't apply.
When deforestation obligations don't apply
You do not need to meet deforestation obligations if:
- the forest clearance was due to a natural event that prevents the forest being re-established, such as a river changing course
- less than 2 hectares of pre-1990 forest is deforested in any 5-year period commencing from 1 January 2008
- the area of forest has been granted a tree weed exemption or less than 50 hectares exemption
- a pre-1990 forest land offsetting application has been approved, and the pre-1990 offsetting forest land has been successfully established (deforestation obligations will apply if the pre-1990 offsetting forest land is subsequently deforested)
- the forest is not pre-1990 forest land (for example, if it's indigenous forest), or is post-1989 forest land that's not registered in the ETS.
Minor clearing on forest edges
You can clear land boundaries without this being treated as deforestation if the clearance is:
- for an area of less than 1 hectare, or less than 30m wide, and
- in line with best practice for forest management, such as establishing a firebreak or improving visibility on forest roads.
You will need to keep a record of any minor clearance work.
Tree weed exemptions
Landowners with pre-1990 forest land that is mainly naturally regenerating tree weeds may apply for an exemption from deforestation obligations for this land.
Download the tree weed exemption fact sheet [PDF, 153 KB]
Download the tree weed exemption application form [PDF, 381 KB]
Owners of less than 50 hectares
Landowners who had less than 50 hectares of pre-1990 forest land on 1 September 2007 could apply to be exempt from deforestation obligations. If MPI granted an exemption, this would have been recorded on the land title.
Applications for this type of exemption closed in 2011, but MPI can consider late applications in certain situations.
Owners of Māori land or land with 10 or more owners
This exemption from pre-1990 deforestation liabilities is for some Māori land or land with 10 or more owners.
You can apply for this exemption if all the following requirements are met:
- the land to be exempted is less than 50 hectares of pre-1990 forest land, which was all the pre-1990 forest land held in a record of title on 1 September 2007
- on 1 September 2007, the land was Māori Land (under Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993) or had 10 or more landowners
- the land was pre-1990 forest land between 1 January 2008 and 20 July 2010
- after 1 January 2008, the land became owned by the trustees of a trust or in the case of Māori freehold land, had an agent appointed for it under Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993
- a landowner has not received an allocation of units under the pre-1990 forest land allocation plan for the land.
How to apply for an exemption
Submit your exemption application form, as well as any supporting documentation (for example, a statutory declaration if required) to email@example.com
Who to contact
If you have questions about deforestation or exemptions:
- email firstname.lastname@example.org
- call 0800 CLIMATE (0800 25 46 28) and select option 2.