Pure Advantage forest strategy proposal welcomed

22 April 2016

Forest owners say a Pure Advantage report that proposes a near-doubling of the area of planted forest in New Zealand is very welcome.

"The independent report by Dr David John Hall raises many issues that forest owners have been emphasising with politicians for decades," says Forest Owners Association (FOA) technical manager Glen Mackie.

"If this gets some cut-through, we will be thrilled. Forests offer so many benefits to our society and with the right incentives, they could offer so much more.

"Our members are businesses who need to make a profit from growing trees, either from the sale of logs or through the storage of carbon. But there are many other reasons to plant trees, such as erosion control, reduced flooding, improved biodiversity and cleaner waterways, as we are currently promoting through the NZ Wood campaign."

Mr Mackie says it would be very helpful for the government, ideally with support from other political parties, to have a national forestry strategy.

"As Dr Hall points out, forestry is an intergenerational commitment, so land owners need to know that future governments will weigh the effect of any proposed new policies on forests and forest owners.

"The constant changes in the NZ emissions trading scheme which, to use Dr Hall's words, have 'dejected and disenfranchised land owners' are a case study in how not to manage forest policy. They are also one of the main reasons why such a strategy is needed."

Mr Mackie says the report presents a very good analysis of the benefits that arise from forests, not only for the forest owner but on "surrounding communities and future generations".

"Dr Hall's proposal to increase forest plantings by 1.3 million hectares would not only be hugely beneficial to New Zealand's carbon position, but would position us to reap the other associated benefits of forestry – employment, economic advantage and environmental – while not adversely affecting other land uses.

"The report presents an ambitious, but very achievable proposal that would transform forestry in New Zealand."

To read the full report >>

For more information, please contact Glen Mackie, Tel 027 445 0116