NZ East Coast: Hybrid forestry model promoted

(Gisborne) A hybrid approach of planting both exotics and natives will produce more socio-economic and environmental benefits, says regional leadership governance group Rau Tipu Rau Ora.

At a meeting last week the group presented its “position statement” on managing exotic afforestation incentives consultation submission directly to Minister of Forestry Stuart Nash, who was in Gisborne.

The submisson was made to show the group’s position in relation to the Government proposal, put forward earlier this year, to exclude exotics from the permanent category for Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) incentives, with submissions closing last month.

Pakihiroa Farms Limited general manager and member of the governance group Hilton Collier officially presented the position statement on behalf of Rau Tipu Rau Ora.

“Our RTRO position was that we did not want to take exotics out of the ETS permanent forest category but if exotics are to be excluded from this category, then there are circumstances where they need to be permitted via secondary legislation,” he said.

The submission document said the Government should enable a more mosaic approach to afforestation — such as planting the right tree in the right place, for the right reason. A hybrid approach allowing growth of both exotic and native species at suitable locations would help recover highly-erodible lands in the region.

Mr Collier said soil erosion was a major issue in Tairāwhiti. With most of the region having land use categories of 6,7 and 8, most areas were deemed to be at risk of erosion. The submission document said fast-growing exotic species were necessary to address such problems in specific sites.

“The current MPI Lookup tables show in 16 years of growth, pine sequesters 443 tonnes of carbon versus 137t from indigenous. At the current price of $75/tonne that’s a significant difference in revenue. The only activity on the worst of class 7 and 8 lands is permanent forest. A mixed regime of exotics and natives should provide short-term soil stability allowing for the transition to indigenous over time,” he said.

RTRO co-chair Selwyn Parata said the group supported efficient land use by thinking of sustainability on a long-term basis.

Source: Gisborne Herald


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