Foresters growing less pruned wood

Media contact: Jackie Bedford

Forest owners are moving away from production of pruned logs, says the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

MPI has released the 2012 annual National Exotic Forestry Description (NEFD) report, which gives a snapshot of the area and make-up of New Zealand’s planted production forests.

According to this year’s report, the net area stocked with planted production forest has remained at 1.72 million hectares. When areas that have been harvested but are still awaiting either replanting or an alternative land-use decision are included (60,000 hectares), the total exotic forest area is estimated to be 1.78 million hectares.

An estimated 12,000 hectares of forest were established on new areas (where planted production forest did not previously exist) in the year to December 2011. The 2012 provisional estimate for new area plantings is 18,500 hectares.

Approximately 23.3 million cubic metres of logs were harvested during the year to March 2012 from felling of 44,100 hectares of planted forest.

The NEFD survey showed that 58 percent (899,000 hectares) of forest planted in the main species radiata pine is being pruned – down from 67 percent 10 years ago. “There is a general trend towards less pruning, due partly to the decline over recent years in the value of pruned logs relative to unpruned logs,” says Lisa Winthrop, Forestry and Plant Sector Policy Manager.

The NEFD reporting is being evaluated as part of a wider review of MPI’s statistical reporting. MPI will run a user information needs survey and discussions with key forestry stakeholders during the coming year. “The key questions will be whether the NEFD is meeting users’ needs and whether there are more efficient ways of obtaining the data,” Ms Winthrop says.

View the full 2012 NEFD report in the Publications section of the MPI website.

About the National Exotic Forest Description:

The NEFD is an annual report on the national planted production forest resource, described by age and species. It is an official “Tier 1” Government statistic.

To compile the report, MPI gathers high-level information from forest owners, surveying large forest owners (over 1000 hectares) every year and both large and smaller forest owners (40 hectares to 1000 hectares) every second year. The survey is well supported by forest owners, with a response rate of 85 percent.

The survey design is intended to show trends over time, and as such it cannot be used to show detail of what has occurred in specific locations or give accurate year-on-year comparisons.

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