The New Zealand forest industry is based on sustainable plantations of predominantly Pinus radiata, commonly known as radiata pine, Monterey pine or New Zealand pine. Douglas-fir and various cypress and eucalypt species are also grown for timber.
FOA members manage around two-thirds of plantation forestry of New Zealand’s 1.79 m ha plantation forestry estate.
Total export earnings are projected to reach $4.7 billion in 2012 – driven by increasing volumes and unit prices for logs and timber, a relatively strong demand for sawn timber, limited growth in the NZ harvest, and supply restrictions from competitors such as Russia.
Forestry in New Zealand is geared to both domestic and export demand. Some 44% of harvested logs and varying percentages of processed forest products are destined for world markets. Seven countries – Australia, China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the US, Indonesia and India – account for more than 80 per cent of the value of these exports. Apart from logs, exports include sawn timber, wood chips, panels, pulp and paper and other products.
China is the major driver of recent demand, as a result of strong economic growth, continued urbanisation, and the effect of the Russian log export tax. India and Japan also have the potential to grow because of strong economic growth in India and post-earthquake re-building in Japan.
Forestry expects to be New Zealand's leading export industry and a top five global supplier by 2025. These goals are ambitious but attainable, due to a combination of the burgeoning global population, expanding demand for sustainably produced wood products, and vast areas of new forest reaching a harvestable age at the right time.
In 2010, log exports reached 10.7m m3 with more than half of this destined for China where demand is expected to remain at high levels at least until 2012. At $1.4 billion, log export receipts were up 50% on 2008, a reflection of higher unit prices, greater volumes and more competitive shipping rates.
Total production in 2010 was 24.8m m3, well above forecast levels. There is potential to increase the sustainable harvest to around 26m m3 after 2015
Source: MAF SONZAF 2011 year aended 30 June / MAF Statistical Releases
Detailed statistics on the NZ plantation forest industry are in the forestry Facts & Figures publication.