NZ tree stock sales & forest planting estimates

On 2 March, New Zealand’s Forestry Minister Shane Jones announced that the government’s ambitious programme planned for tree planting across the country will see a gradual rise of tree numbers planted out every year as seedlings become available. From 2022 planting was expected to be in full swing at an annual rate of 110,000 hectares a year.

There are plenty of sceptics who believe that the government won’t get to the billion-tree target over ten years. The Forest Owners Association in a release on the announcement said that “a billion trees represent 100,000 hectares of plantings per year on average. The effective planting start-up year, with seedlings started off this winter, will be 2019. So, first up, 70,000 hectares represents a good beginning to grow the national forest estate which has been static for nearly 20 years.”

To give you a feel for the enormity of the task in front of the Government – and the industry – to meet the lofty goals set, we’ve included a just released report from MPI that provides provisional estimates of the sales of tree stocks and the areas of commercial forest planted last year.

In summary, the total area of forest planting in the winter of 2017 is provisionally estimated from the nursery survey data and associated modelling to be 49,000 hectares. Of this, 44,700 ha was replanting. Only 4,300ha was estimated to be in new planting. Check out Figure 1 on Page 4 of the attached report. This shows new planting figures since 1991. Make no bones about it, the target set of planting 100,000 ha a year for the next 10 years is indeed going to be demanding. The positives taken out of the target though are that as a consequence of the target, the line on the graph that has shown a continued and steady decline in new planting from 1994 will at long last be heading in the right direction.

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