Forest Accord celebrated

23 Aug 2006

Forest owners and environmental and outdoor recreational groups have celebrated the 15th anniversary of the signing of the New Zealand Forest Accord, a landmark agreement which put an end to decades of conflict.

At a function held in Wellington late last week, their representatives reaffirmed their support for the Accord, and said renewed dialogue was needed between the parties.

In the spirit of the Accord, they agreed to explore opportunities for reaching agreement on issues of common concern, including climate change policy, access and responsible outdoor recreation.

“Forest owners and environmental groups have much in common on many issues," says NZFOA president Peter Berg.

“Through dialogue, there is the potential to help each other achieve some important goals. This is what happened 15 years ago and it can happen again.???

With the signing of the Accord in 1991, the signatory organisations in the forest industry stopped clearing native vegetation for the establishment of plantations.

For their part, conservation groups acknowledged the importance of plantation forestry as a means of producing wood products and energy on a sustainable basis, while promoting the protection and conservation of remaining natural forests. They also agreed to promote these understandings both within New Zealand and internationally.

Speaking at the anniversary function, former NZFOA president Bryce Heard said negotiating the Accord was one of the best things he had been involved in throughout his long career in the forest industry.

“The industry and environmentalists had been at loggerheads for years. Many were sceptical that we could get agreement between the parties, but we did it. It wasn’t easy, but it has stood the test of time.???