Landowners keep credits under Billion Trees plan

Landowners will keep the carbon credits and liability under proposed new production forestry joint ventures with the Government as part of its One Billion Trees programme. The programme is expected to generate 10 million tonnes to 30 million tonnes of carbon credits by 2030, on top of the 18 million tonnes from existing forests.

The Ministry of Primary Industries is on the hunt for land to turn into commercial forests, and is writing to landowners saying its commercial trading arm, Crown Forestry, wants to talk to them. The programme is part of the coalition agreement between Labour and New Zealand First. The agreement says that 100 million trees will be planted a year under a $1 billion-a-year regional development programme.

In a letter to landowners, MPI’s climate change operations manager Peter Lough says Crown Forestry would lease the land for one 30-year rotation. The Crown would pay for all establishment and management costs over the lifetime of the crop, and would pay a negotiated rent for the land.

“Rents will reflect the quality of the land, proximity to ports or wood-processing plants and the costs Crown Forestry expects to pay over the lifetime of the crop,” Lough said. Landowners would retain all rights to carbon credits, and any areas of regenerating native forest would be left as enclaves with the new forest, he said. The Forest Owners’ Association says the offer should be welcomed by hill country farmers and iwi as a low-risk way to get new land planted, providing an extra income.

Source: Carbon News 2018

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