Forest Owners say planting increase is positive

Friday 18 Aug 2023

The Forest Owners Association says an expansion of new forest planting in New Zealand in 2021, highlighted in a new report, is positive news for carbon capture ambitions.

Beef + Lamb NZ has released a commissioned report by Orme & Associates. Beef + Lamb complains that it is ‘alarming’ that the report shows whole-farm sales to ‘forestry interests’ amounted to 63,000 hectares in the winter of 2021.

But FOA President, Grant Dodson, says the Orme Report reveals a long delayed and significantly more modest expansion of plantation forestry within that total, which is well overdue, and vital, if New Zealand is to reach its carbon reduction targets. Grant Dodson says it’s important to realise the national plantation forestry estate is still 70,000 hectares smaller than it was twenty years ago.

“Land use is aways changing. We lost a lot of land in the first decade of this century to dairy expansion. Dairy took over a lot of sheep and beef properties as well. So, I can’t understand why Beef + Lamb is so dog in a manger about trees. It’s just claimed forestry displaced 400,000 sheep in 2021-2022.”

“Yet the average yearly fall in sheep flock numbers in the four decades since the early 1980s, has been nearly three times that, including during periods when forestry was shrinking. And presently beef exports are at record volumes. So, the beef exporters are hardly being strangled by forest expansion either.”

Grant Dodson says the demands made by Beef + Lamb to the government to restrict forest expansion are also a violation of the right of farmers to make their own land use choices.

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Source: forest Owners Association

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