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)
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[Video begins with an aerial view of Olrig station and a 4WD driving on a farm road. Title shows: Planting One Billion Trees Together By 2028]
[Olrig Station owners Richard and Rebecca Riddell appear on screen with a view of their farm in the background as Richard begins to speak. The Riddells and their dog then drive up to a paddock gate]
Richard Riddell: I’m Richard Riddell and this is my wife Rebecca. We live in Olrig Station which is in the district called Maraekakaho, which is about 30 kilometres west of Hastings. It’s been run as a sheep and beef property, trading winter lambs and recently growing peas for McCain’s.
[While Rebecca speaks: The Riddells walk up to the paddock gate and looks at their farm]
Rebecca Riddell: We want to plant trees here for a couple of factors; we’ve got erosion issues and also we’re wanting to protect our waterways and also lock down some carbon.
[While Richard speaks: The Riddells' dog appears on screen. Scene moves to an aerial view of native forest on the Riddels' farm and a stream flowing between the trees appear]
Richard Riddell: Olrig Station is 850 hectares. There’s already 15 hectares of forestation scheme. We’ve just planted 55 hectares of pine in the areas which are not good for stock and also very difficult for us to get water to the stock. There’s quite a large native blocks on the property which probably total up roundabout 25 hectares, and some waterways which will be planted off, which would be there just left to go back in the bush. We’re looking to introduce a few more native species to help get that underway.
[While Rebecca speaks: A variety of native trees and a closer shot of the flowing stream appears on the screen]
Rebecca Riddell: We’ve got this great stand of native bush, a lovely stand of Kahikatea and Kōwhais which are flowering. There’s Totara and Mānuka and through the middle of it runs this lovely stream that we’re locking away, and we’re going to restore more natives into the area.
[While Richard speaks: The Riddells again appear on screen. The scene moves to an aerial view of the Riddells and their dog driving on their farm. The scene then moves to a flock of birds flying over tree tops, followed by scene of cattle grazing]
Richard Riddell: Yeah-no I think we have to feed the world and I find that a great challenge and one that we’re always going to have to change. And I think this bit of land that is part of an ecosystem which is great for the environment as well as also delivering food, whether that be a vegetable or a meat or a protein of some sort, has got to be a good thing. The benefit of trees to us is that it’s going to offset the carbon footprint so we’ll grow trees that will absorb the carbon and we can have a farming environment that is going to have a zero footprint on the world.
[Dr Adam Forbes, Restoration Ambassador for One Billion Trees appears on screen. Title shows: Dr Adam Forbes. Restoration Ambassador. One Billion Trees Programme.]
[While Adam speaks: Grazing cattle appears on screen. The scene then moves to Adam and Richard sitting behind a computer inside the Riddells' house followed by the two men admiring a variety of trees as they walk through a section of the Riddells' farm. Adam then enters the Olrig Station barn to join Madeline Hall, Senior Catchment Advisor at Hawke's Bay Regional Council on screen. The two converse whilst looking at and discussing a map of the Riddells’ farm on a computer]
Adam Forbes: There is multiple benefits to restoring forest cover in riparian land. It’s about firstly retiring stock out of the areas so the stock aren’t really getting into the waterways. The vegetation has a filtering effect on runoff so it tends to cleanse the water that’s entering a stream. Having no stock in here is going to help the streambanks be intact, it’s going to reduce the amount of nutrients getting into the stream and it’s going to benefit not just the stream reach but also stream reaches further down. When Richard brought me down and showed me this area he knew that he wanted to retire the area but he wasn’t sure how best to establish native forest into the area. So the 1BT funding was really useful for Richard and Rebecca’s proposal here. So what we did was we looked at the different options - we looked at the diverse native planting option, the Kānuka planting option and the retirement option and because of the nature of the environment here I feel we don’t need to plant a great diversity of species but it’s just about planting a canopy and Kānuka was a really good option for that.
[While Richard speaks: The Riddells appear on screen. Scene moves to a close-up of the flowing stream, followed by an aerial view of the farm and forest]
Richard Riddell: Adam and his expertise in forestry world has been fantastic in coming and making recommendation on what we can plant native-wise which will help other natives help come up in the future. We just planted 350 poplars in some erosion prone areas in conjunction with the Hawkes Bay Regional Council.
[Madeline appears on screen and title shows: Madeline Hall, Senior Catchment Advisor, Hawke’s Bay Regional Council]
[While Madeline speaks: Richard and Madeline appear on screen and shake hands. They sit down at a table inside the Riddells’ house and talk. Madeline and the Riddells then appear on screen and talk]
Madeline Hall: My drive is to help farmers really keep the soil where it’s supposed to stay. So sometimes that means establishing poplars and willows so that grazing can still occur underneath those areas. Sometimes that means establishing native permanent cover on highly erodible areas. And really the challenge for landowners is to figure out where to find the money that suits their needs and their project and so that’s where councils can really fit in. My role at council is to connect landowners like Richard and Becks with people like Adam who can help them get the funding and go through the application process.
[While Rebecca speaks: The Riddells and their dog appear on screen]
Rebecca Riddell: In 50 to 100 years I hope grandchildren will be just loving this native bush we’ve planted, loving this beautiful farmland that grows great animals and enjoying the same life we are.
[Video ends with an aerial view of the farmhouse. Title shows: Get Involved. Phone: 0800 00 83 33. www.teururakau.govt.nz]
[End of transcript]
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 (Forestry New Zealand) to discuss your options. Email email@example.com
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:
- Native Planting: $4,000 per hectare to plant a native forest.
- Native Reversion: $1,000 per hectare to assist the reversion of your land to permanent native forest cover.
- Mānuka/Kānuka Planting: $1,800 per hectare to plant only mānuka or kānuka.
- 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 – Forestry New Zealand to discuss your project at firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Submitting an application – summary
- Apply at any time of the year.
- Make sure your land and project are eligible.
- Gather your supporting evidence.
Approved Direct Grants in each region
A summary of the Direct Grants that have been approved will be updated regularly over the course of the programme.
One Billion Trees - Direct Grants in each region [PDF, 657 KB]