Latest research by Te Uru Rākau - New Zealand Forest Service shows seedling sales hit almost 92 million seedlings in 2020, 3 million more than the year before, says acting deputy director-general Henry Weston.
The findings are an annual survey of tree stock sales from commercial forestry nurseries, called the Provisional Estimates of Tree Stock Sales and Forest Planting.
"The increase in seedling sales is positive, as it shows continued strong interest in tree planting.
"Tree planting is a vital tool in efforts to boost environmental gains, and help New Zealand to reach its economic potential, particularly our recovery from COVID-19," says Mr Weston.
Tree stock sales reported in 2020 totalled 91.9 million seedlings, compared to 88.8 million sold in 2019. The main increase was in radiata pine where sales rose by 4.4 million seedlings.
"Our estimates suggest the increase in 2020 could see seedling sales reach 100 million seedlings in 2021."
Mr Weston says Te Uru Rākau – New Zealand Forest Service's research also shows the majority of planting in New Zealand was on class 6,7, and 8 land, which isn't considered productive farmland.
"It's important to consider planting the right tree in the right place, as it can be used to stabilise land, stop erosion and create additional income for farmers or foresters through things like the Emissions Trading Scheme.
"Te Uru Rākau - New Zealand Forest Service would like to acknowledge all of the nursery managers, forest owners, managers, and consultants who supplied information for the survey."
In 2020, all of the 25 commercial forestry nurseries completed the survey. Ten nurseries undertaking bulk sales of mānuka seedlings also completed the survey (some of which are also commercial forestry nurseries).
Provisional estimates of tree stock sales and forest planting in 2020 [PDF, 749 KB]