When deforestation obligations don't apply

In certain cases, you don't need to meet deforestation requirements when clearing your forest land. Find out about exceptions to the deforestation rules.

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.

Find out about obligations when you deforest forest land

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.

Exemptions from deforestation obligations

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.

For land which had more than 10 owners on 1 September 2007, or is Māori land under the Te Ture Whenua Maori Act 1993, a trustee or appointed agent by the Māori Land Court may apply for the exemption. The exemption will be assessed on a title basis.

Applications for this type of exemption closed in 2011, but MPI can consider late applications in certain situations.

If you have questions about this exemption, email climatechange@mpi.govt.nz

Download the deforestation exemption (less than 50ha) application [PDF, 285 KB]

Who to contact

If you have questions about deforestation:

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