Euro investors keen on billion trees project

New Zealand’s billion trees planting project has attracted the eye of some of the world’s most deep-pocketed timber sector players interested in growing much more than raw radiata logs.

A director of Kronospan, the world’s largest manufacturer of wood-based boards and panels, was among European visitors recently to New Zealand forests and the Beehive office of Forestry and Regional Development Minister Shane Jones, as they explored investment opportunities.

“One billion trees by 2028” is Jones’ brainchild. He wants one billion trees – including native trees – planted between 2018 and 2028, with support funding available from the Government. It is estimated about half that number will be achieved by existing industry planting programmes.

Two of his visitors were specialist forestry and agriculture investors from Germany whose company GlenSilva last year formed a joint venture, Kauri Forestry, with New Zealand farm and forest manager Craigmore Sustainables.

Kauri is awaiting word from the Overseas Investment Office on whether it’s cleared to buy 5000 hectares of Wairarapa and Northland land to further its programme of growing sustainable native tree and radiata forests for commercial timber use.

GlenSilva founding partners Matthias Graf von Westphalen and Josef Nagel have been visiting New Zealand and investing here for several years – and introducing other European investors to primary industry here.

Via GlenSilva, or in partnership with Craigmore, the pair have invested more than $65 million in agriculture and forestry in the North Island.

Coming from Europe, where commercial forests and farms are many hundreds of years old and intergenerationally-owned and managed, the pair are big fans of the Government’s billion trees project for its drive to build a long-term, sustainable forestry industry, its support for ecosystems, and its potential contribution to climate change management through this country’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).

Graf von Westphalen called one billion trees a “beautiful” programme.

Source – NZ Herald