Science priorities to support the One Billion Trees Programme

Science, research, and development provide innovative ideas to improve how we plant and grow trees. Learn about our science plan, priorities, and advisory group.

How science supports the One Billion Trees Programme

The One Billion Trees Programme is key to the government's goal of supporting a sustainable transition to a low emissions economy. It can help our environment, people, communities and economy by:

  • creating jobs for marginalised communities
  • reducing erosion and improving water quality
  • supporting Māori aspirations for their land and forests.

The programme encourages planting to complement the way land is already used. This supports a move from large-scale land conversion to forestry.

Planting and replanting will deliver a significant number of trees towards 2028’s target of one billion trees. Still, this is not enough to address:

  • New Zealand’s climate change objectives
  • the government’s broader environmental, economic, social and cultural goals.

To achieve these goals, we need to change how we use land. This includes:

  • converting non-productive and less productive farmland to trees
  • better integrating trees into farming systems
  • planting a wider mix of tree species, both native and exotic.

Guiding investment with our science plan

A science plan is guiding investment in the One Billion Trees Programme. Developed by us and the forestry sector, the plan identified short-, medium- and long-term research priorities.

The plan prioritises short-term operational projects. We already know a lot about radiata pine – these projects focus on filling our knowledge gaps for other native and exotic species.

We will publish technical reports and fact sheets for all research projects. These will include our key learnings and tips.

Download the science plan to find out about our research priorities [PDF, 171 KB]

Short-term research priorities

There are 4 short-term research priorities:

  • scaling up native planting
  • tools to support decision-making
  • understanding social barriers
  • planting forests that are not just radiata pine.

Read about these priorities, their projects, the key learnings, and research that is happening.

One Billion Trees Programme science projects

Strategic Science Advisory Group

The One Billion Trees Strategic Science Advisory Group (SSAG) was set up in June 2020. The group helps:

  • assess research proposals
  • direct funding into short-term priority areas.

The SSAG prioritises practical, cost-effective and high-impact science projects. Projects must support planting the right tree, in the right place, at the right time.

SSAG members include experts from science organisations, Māori, the forestry industry and government.

Strategic Science Advisory Group members

  • Tim Payn (chair), principal scientist and research leader, enabling environments, Scion; professor sustainable forestry, Toi-Ohomai
  • Russell Dale, forest growers research manager and East Coast forest owner
  • Aaron Thompson, senior policy analyst, data, insights and forestry policy, MPI
  • Chris Phillips, portfolio leader, soils and landscapes, Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research
  • John Moore, R&D manager, Timberlands, director Radiata Pine Breeding Company
  • Dean Satchell, New Zealand Farm Forestry Association
  • Tui Warmenhoven, Ngati Porou, environmental researcher, Waiapu Catchment Restoration

Partnership Funding for science projects

The One Billion Trees Partnership Fund supported our short-term research projects from 2018 to 2020.

Up to $6 million of government funding was available for projects under the science plan. To ensure a return on investment, all projects must build on or accelerate work currently underway. Researchers are encouraged to work together to avoid duplication.

Partnership funding

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