About Direct Grants for tree planting

If you’re a landowner and want to plant trees or revert some of your land to native forest, find out about the grants available and what you might be eligible for.

Video – How trees fit into farming (4.15)

Funding to plant trees

The One Billion Trees Fund provides grants directly to landowners, and those with a right to plant and wanting to establish small and medium-sized forests.

Direct Grants contribute to the costs of planting trees, or of managing your land to revert to native forest.

You’ll need to be able to commit to maintaining your tree planting or native forest reversion project to a certain standard for the duration of your 10-year agreement with the Crown.

We’re aiming for two-thirds of trees established through Direct Grants to be natives.

Introduction to Direct Grants [PDF, 2.4 MB]

Purpose of grants

The One Billion Trees Fund isn't intended to fund wholesale conversion of farms into production forestry. Instead, Direct Grants are available to help landowners integrate trees into existing land uses. Trees add more diversity to landscapes, help reduce erosion, improve water quality, enhance biodiversity, and potentially provide another income stream.

Grants are available for landowners and those with a legal right to plant and can commit to maintaining the planting project for the minimum period of 10 years on areas of land which are:

  • suitable for tree planting
  • not currently forest and have not been forest in the 5 years prior to applying for the grant
  • not already being treated or planted under another government funded scheme like the Hill Country Erosion Fund or Afforestation Grant Scheme

Some of the main criteria

The proposed planting or native reversion activity:

  • must involve trees that have the ability to reach 5 metres height at maturity in that location
  • should have a planting density (number of trees per hectare) that follows good practice for the type of planting activity you’re doing. Lower density planting will be considered on a case by case basis.
  • must be able to meet a minimum number of 750 living stems per hectare (sph) of tree species successfully established after planting. The standard is the same for all activities, except for native planting, which has an additional standard where 300 sph (of the 750sph) must be tall tree species. (Note, establishment is typically 2 months, and up to 4 years after planting for natives.)
  • must cover at least 5 hectares (can be made up of 1 hectare blocks) of 1 or more grant categories. If you're only doing native planting, you can plant less than 5 hectares, as long as the minimum block size is over 1 hectare.
  • must be capable of reaching an average canopy width of 30 metres at maturity, with the exception of riparian planting projects (planting along waterways) which can be narrower.

The One Billion Trees Fund is designed to be flexible. If your proposed project doesn’t meet all these criteria, or you’re unsure if you’re eligible, get in touch with Te Uru Rākau – New Zealand Forest Service (Forestry New Zealand) to discuss your options. Email 1bt@mpi.govt.nz

One Billion Trees and the Emissions Trading Scheme

To help boost the benefits of planting trees through the One Billion Trees Fund, new forests funded through Direct Grants can immediately register with the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) to start earning carbon credits if the forest is ETS-eligible. An exception to this is radiata pine, which is restricted from registering with the ETS for 6 years, including the year of planting.

Being eligible for a Direct Grant from the One Billion Trees Fund doesn't guarantee your trees will be eligible for the ETS. This is because the eligibility criteria for Direct Grants and the ETS are different.

Types of tree planting grants available

There are 4 categories of Direct Grants available, as well as top-ups in some cases to help with the costs of fencing, land preparation, and planting on erosion prone land. You can apply for one or more grant categories in the same application. The 4 categories are:

  1. Native Planting: $4,000 per hectare to plant a native forest.
  2. Native Reversion: $1,000 per hectare to assist the reversion of your land to permanent native forest cover.
  3. Mānuka/Kānuka Planting: $1,800 per hectare to plant only mānuka or kānuka.
  4. Exotic Planting: $1,500 per hectare to plant an exotic forest.

There is also a top-up for planting activities that meet the ecological restoration criteria (see below).

Additional funding may be available

If you’re planning a large or catchment-scale ecological restoration project you may be able to access additional funding and project support. Get in touch with Te Uru Rākau – New Zealand Forest Service – Forestry New Zealand to discuss your project at 1bt@mpi.govt.nz

Partnerships Funding from the One Billion Trees Fund

How to apply for a Direct Grant

Planting trees or helping your land revert to native forest is a long-term commitment. You need to carefully think through your planting project before you start.

Before you apply for a Direct Grant

Submitting an application – summary

  1. Apply at any time of the year.
  2. Make sure your land and project are eligible.
  3. Gather your supporting evidence.

Check the eligibility criteria

Get full details about the application process

Approved Direct Grants in each region

Find out where Direct Grant funding for native and exotic tree species has been approved. 

One Billion Trees Fund approved Direct Grants

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