Billion Trees land approaches 50,000 hectares

Friday 23 Feb 2018

The NZ Government says it is close to securing 50,000 hectares of land for new forests under its Billion Trees programme. The programme, to see a billion trees planted over 10 years, is part of the coalition agreement between Labour and New Zealand First.

The government-owned forestry organisation Crown Forestry is writing to landowners offering to go into joint ventures to plant un-forested land with radiata pine. The Crown would pay for the cost of establishing the forests, and landowners would get the carbon credits.

Forestry minister Shane Jones has told Parliament that 12,500ha has already been secured, with negotiations under way over another 30,000ha. “The Crown is now engaging with Mâori landowners and other categories of landowners, and the size of the land package, reflective of that engagement, is now up to 30,000 hectares,” he said in response to questions from National Party forestry spokesman Nick Smith.

“When one adds the nigh-on 12,000 hectares that we have already secured, and in the event that the 30,000 is successful, I am but a small step away from 50,000 hectares.”

Smith told Jones that the Director-General of Conservation, Lou Sanson, had told Parliament’s environment select committee that his department had very little land available for planting trees, and asked Jones whether he agreed with conservation minister Eugenie Sage that only native trees should be planted on conservation land.

Jones said that native and exotic trees would be part of the Billion Trees programme. “The percentage and the mix of trees that might be grown on the DOC estate has yet to be settled,” he said.

Source: Carbon News 2018

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