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Pine-forest regulation proposals are creating lots of heat with big implications for land-use and the landscape

Rural News / opinion
Pine-forest regulation proposals are creating lots of heat with big implications for land-use and the landscape
Steeply eroding lands in the Wairoa district, April 2022
Steeply eroding lands in the Wairoa district, April 2022

Right now, there is a fervent debate underway as to where pine trees fit within our future landscape. On one side stand Forestry Minister Stuart Nash and Climate Change Minister James Shaw. They are proposing that existing legislation should be reversed so that pine trees would only be for production forestry and not so-called permanent forests.

Minister Nash has recently come to a position that only native forests should be permanent, and he is supported by many who hold strong environmental values. Dame Anne Salmond is one of the leaders in that camp.

In contrast, Minister Shaw is concerned that if permanent pine forests are allowed, then too much carbon will be stored in this way and urban people will no longer be forced to modify their carbon emitting behaviours. There are some huge ironies there.

On the other side stand iwi groups who own large areas of steep erodible land, often far from ports, for which permanent pine forests linked to carbon farming are by far the best income earning opportunities. These forests are also an excellent solution to the erosion problems.

Alongside these iwi groups, but perhaps not generally as well organised, are many pakeha sheep and beef farmers who also own areas of steep erodible land. If either economics or minimising soil erosion is the goal, then permanent non-harvested pine forests on this class of land are the obvious answer. Somewhat ironically, their industry organisation Beef+Lamb does not seem to support them.

This overview might seem to describe a complex situation. Dig a little deeper and everything gets even more complex and confusing. Who is right and who is wrong?

As always in this world that we now live in, there is both information and misinformation. And some of the fervent believers do not understand when they are on shaky ground.

Both native and exotic forestry lie right at the limit of my former professional knowledge, which focuses primarily on agrifood systems. So, learning about forest ecology has been a journey of discovery. But having an education in agricultural science has meant that I do have some prior knowledge about the disciplines of soils, botany, chemistry and physics that underpin forestry.  Having studied economics through to post-graduate level also helps.

As for broader ecology, that too lies at the limits of my knowledge, although I did study some ecology a very long time ago. I also had opportunities a long time ago to learn some more ecology in the field as a Board Member for several years of Westland National Park. I have also been lucky to spend multiple years wandering and working in mountain areas across the world, observing nature in its many forms. All of this has been helpful in trying to put together the forestry jigsaw.

Here I want to focus on some fundamentals of introduced versus native forests, and perhaps dispel some myths as I do so.

The starting point lies many millions of years ago when New Zealand broke away from Gondwanaland to go its own way. For a long time, it went close to sinking into the ocean, but did manage to keep afloat as a subtropical outpost with vegetation that aligned to that environment.

Then more recently New Zealand became a land uplifted high by tectonic forces, with the vegetation evolving with that change. But plants evolve only slowly. Hence, we have no native pines nor do we have eucalypts. Rather, our dominant forest natives are podocarps and various species of beech (Nothofagus sp.).

Accordingly, in contrast to the Northern Hemisphere, our range of forest species is constrained in terms of resilience to diverse conditions. In the Northern Hemisphere, tree species have been able to march north and south across the land as the climate changed over millions of years. In contrast, New Zealand’s biota is restricted to what could first survive on a low-lying island outpost and then survive and evolve on a land uplifted high.

Outside of New Zealand, forests evolved in environments where there were many mammalian pests. In contrast, New Zealand’s native forests have been exposed to mammal pests only within the last 1000 years, and primarily within the last 200 years.

To cut to the chase, New Zealand’s native forest trees are not well suited to colonising steep eroded lands that lost their original forest cover between 100 and 1000 years ago and are now covered in rundown pasture and sometimes scrub, and which provide a home for introduced rodents and possums. Newly planted native forests need lots of tender loving care if they are to survive, combined with deep pockets of money to make it happen.  Even then, they establish and grow very slowly, with lots of failures.

My forester and ecologist friends tell me that outside of natural regeneration, we would be lucky in the last 100 years to have established 5000 hectares of native forest across all of New Zealand.  Where natural regeneration has occurred, it has been a slow process, defined by surviving seed banks, and often going through scrub phases before genuine forest species take over.

Fortunately, there are indeed many hundred thousand hectares of regenerating native forests, in contrast to the paucity of planted hectares. These are largely long-abandoned back-country farmlands with legacy native seeds, where nature has been left to do its own thing for much of the last 100 years . But if the criterion is carbon sequestration, or even protection of steep eroding land, then none of those regenerating hectares have been getting there quickly.  Even where seed banks are available, sequestration would be less than one quarter of what occurs in introduced forests. And none of those regenerating hectares are anywhere near back to ‘old man’ forest.

Currently, in New Zealand we have approximately one million hectares, or perhaps a little more, of pastoral land that is seriously eroding. That makes up about 10 percent of the total pastoral land in New Zealand.  Putting a focus specifically on North Island sheep and beef land, then it might get closer to 20 percent.

Quite simply, if we want to protect that land and do it without sending the country broke, then pine forests of one type or another are the only way to do it.

If we planted out one million hectares of steep eroding land that has low farming value, then it would sequester well over 20 million tonnes of carbon per annum for the next 80 years and would still be growing strong at that time.  At current costs, it would cost about $3 billion to plant, but it would then return, once again at current prices, a carbon value of more than $1.5 billion per year.

Note also that the price of carbon is expected to rise, with the Climate Change Commission suggesting a price of about $140 is needed by 2030, and then heading on from there to $250 per tonne. So, why would we not do it?

The answer coming back from the ‘anti-lobby’ is that pine forests are ‘bad’.   But are they really so bad if properly managed?

One of the myths is that pines are short-lived species. Well, we have only had them in New Zealand for about 160 years but trees planted at that time are still going strong. The natural life of radiata pines is about 300 years and for redwood it is even longer. 

​154-year-old radiata pine in the Wellington Botanic Gardens, adjacent to The Terrace. Photo Graham West

Another issue is fire risk. Yes, that is correct, but non-contiguous plantings are one solution and there are other management strategies.

Actually, native forests also burn. That is how Maori first started the process of deforesting so much of New Zealand, continued by European settlers.

100-year old pines with native understory, near Kaiangaroa Forest Village, sequestering >2000 tonnes carbon per hectare. Photo: Jeff Tombleson

What about windfall?  Yes, that too can be an issue. The correct planting rate is a key part of the solution, and some places like the shallow-soil Canterbury plains are not the right place. However, some windfall is a natural process and part of the way that forests regenerate.

There are indeed some horrendous examples of what can happen when storms descend on pine-forest land that has recently been clear-felled, but that is not what happens in permanent forests.

What about wildings? Yes, in some areas that too can be an issue. However, radiata often gets the blame when the real culprits are the lodgepole Pinus contorta and Douglas fir.

I often say in relation to complex environmental issues, that if people think there are simple solutions, then that is because they don’t understand the problem. However, one thing that is clear to me is that among my network of experienced foresters, who do understand both native and introduced species, there is universal acknowledgement that permanent non-harvested pine forests are indeed a key part of the solution. 

This is very different than what the key Government Ministers are currently saying. That raises questions as to who they are listening to for their advice.


*Keith Woodford was Professor of Farm Management and Agribusiness at Lincoln University for 15 years through to 2015. He is now Principal Consultant at AgriFood Systems Ltd. You can contact him directly here.

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149 Comments

Are pine trees the problem or the solution?

Keith more concerning and burning question during this time over long weekend to ponder is :

Are politicians the problem or the solution?

Now with central bank responsible ( though not owning it) for the current mess :

Are Central Banks the problem or the solution?

Average person will worry about other problem, once he is able to see beyond the basic necessity of food and house.

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It would be great to create forests with pleasant trees like Oak, Elm, Maple etc instead of ghastly pine trees or fetishized natives.

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We're talking forests to sequester carbon, to hopefully contribute to our species surviving, and forests to support eroding land, and you care what it looks like? 

 

This pretty much describes how we got into this mess.

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Hello Officebound,

It always helps to have a clue before dishing out a spastic hot take like that.

A quick Google search would reveal that English Oak trees actually have one of the greatest abilities to sequester carbon.

If we are going to engineer our landscapes we should most certainly put some thought into making them be nice places for people to enjoy instead of creating ghastly pine forest dead zones for all eternity.

The point is that there's a plethora of so-called "exotic" trees to choose from that are well suited to particular use cases that aren't god awful radiata pine.

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Exotic hardwood s actually earn more credits than pine in the early years. This computes to them storing more carbon. They also include species that can provide fodder for livestock, as Polaris and willows do every drought.

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The photo of the 100 year old P rad with a regenerating native understory doesn't look ghastly.

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From an evolutionary perspective, pine trees have played a smart game (acknowledgement to all the MSM which attributed intelligence to a coronavirus). Going about their business, waiting for a niche to open up for them. And we here in NZ might be giving it to them on a plate :)

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Brock,
I agree that oaks are interesting.
I recently had the opportunity to inspect some oaks on a Banks Peninsula farm property that have done exceedingly well
KeithW

 

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Oh for crying out loud, if those are what you want, you know what to do

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You seem upset about something?

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Annoyed more like it. Annoyed that NZers (presuming) don't want this country to look like itself. 

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If radiata pine and gorse are what you want to look at, you know what to do.

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Please point out where I said that, as I can't remember

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You'll need to read the scroll back and remember what triggered you.

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*YAWN*

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You’re welcome to buy land and plant what you will on it… you won’t make any money but hey y’all feel good 

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Great article Keith.

 

Shame that the incentives to carbon farm are so blunt. 

 

Why do we see productive forests as bad for carbon sequestration, and permanent forests as good?

Trees in permanent forests do have a (long) limited lifespan, which sees the sequestered carbon end up being released again as the dead tree rots away. This means the sequestration is essentially kicking the can down the road (albeit a long way down the road).

Productive forests can see the timber used to make things, which keeps the carbon sunk (until the things are disposed of), while the land is used to again grow trees to sequester more.

 

What am I missing? :) 

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Wouldn't biodiversity be a key driver of permanent native forests?

I actually really like the article though - it's a good reminder that there may be value in compromise and that we can't just return NZ to exactly what it was before (for so many reasons).

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My network of foresters with experience of both native and introduced forests tell me that the overall biodiversity within these two categories is  not greatly different. Most of the NZ birds that live in either category of mature forest tend to be insect carnivores, given that, for example, our podocarp species do not produce pollen or berries for them to eat.  Beech forests do produce flowers but bird species would struggle to get a living from these. 

Also, if native forest ecosystem diversity is our objective, we need to acknowledge that this is a key reason why we have national parks and other protected areas.  If that is to also be an objective on the pastoral land that is steep and eroding then that is an objective well beyond the capacity of the current owners. Also establishing native forests on these lands is an exceedingly difficult technical task, whereas establishment of introduced species is straight forward.
KeithW

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I can't really agree with that from my experience Keith. I have blocks of pine and 30 ha of regenerating natives, the ecologist came up with a huge long list of species of plants in the natives, whereas the pines have pines, privet and  a few tree ferns. Most of the natives produce berries which is why the birdlife is amazing in there. In the pines it's not even worth putting possum bait out, it doesn't seem to provide a living for anything.

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Yes, regenerating natives definitely carry lots of birds. I see that within natives in my own garden. Fortunately at home we have no possums or stoats. But I think birdlife is somewhat limited in mature native forests of podocarps and beech.  That aligns with my own recollections from earlier days tramping the mountains of Aotearoa NZ.
KeithW

 

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I spent many years trapping possums and pig hunting in large areas of native bush and there were not many birds. In the areas that I am familiar with bird life only increased after 1080 drops. Now those areas are back to very few birds again.

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I have seen tui, sparrows and rosellas on kowhai. Wax eyes, mynahs, doves perch on the branches of pine, whilst in transit. Little or no food in pine trees.

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Totara,Rimu etc have edible berries. I have also wondered about the lack of birds in mature native forest.i think if you go to somewhere like Kapiti island, you will see a big factor is rats ,cats, etc. Yet, in Auckland, with a seeming multitude of both, there are quite a few birds, wherever there is bush.

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It's interesting alright.

There's plenty of cats and rats and possums in semi-rural suburbia where I live. But the tui, kereru, piwakawaka are plentiful. I do wonder whether the mix of native and exotics in and around here are a better food source for them. 5 miles up the road in lowland bush/forest of the national park here and I'd be lucky to see a couple of each of those species. I've been parked up on my boat in a sunny sheltered cove off Kapiti Island and the bird song was almost deafening.

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I was talking to a guy that did the pest control on a  off shore island , off the Coromandel. The first night they couldn't sleep for the sound of the drop traps going off with rats. He returned a few years after they cleared it, reckoned you had to watch where you stepped on the beach, there were so many lizards/geckos running around. I geuss eventually the birds would keep their numbers in check, once they recovered.

 Maybe it's a lack of invertebrates, reptiles in a forest , that keeps bird numbers down?

There are a number of exotics that native birds love.

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Keith bird abundance and biodiversity is affected in all native and exotic forest types where insufficient pest control occurs - this is more of a limiting factor than forest type. Visit the lowland mature podocarp stands of Pureora and Whirinaki forests to see two of the most complete and abundant avifauna communities in Aotearoa NZ. Both areas have extensive bait station and/or trap networks and a history of regular aerial 1080 operations. No kiwi or weka though - species that incidentally can make quite a good living in/around exotic forest - as long as predator control is sufficient. Also worth noting that several bird species most commonly found in exotic species - piwakawaka/fantail, riroriro/grey warbler, tauhou/silvereye - are relatively recent arrivals here and have life strategies resilient to mammalian predators.  

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Presumably an entire permanent forest doesn't die, as any dead/rotting trees would be balanced out by new ones growing. An old forest has a lot of carbon stored, even if it has stopped absorbing.

I guess a permanent forest has a significantly higher carbon storage capacity than a production forest.

It also raises the question of what our production forests are used for, if it's mostly construction then do we consider the carbon sequestered for the life of the building?

 

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Nzdano,
I agree totally with your first two paragraphs.
The problem is that only a modest proportion of NZ's log production ends up in long-life building construction or in furniture.
KeithW

 

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Pretty much none of it does, given the quality of what is turned out these days

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Modern treatments like Accoya, developed here, make radiata last 70 odd years.

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/new-zealand-tech-turns-pine-into-hardwood…

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Yeah hardout profile, this is where the future lies. Old growth hardwood is soon nonexistent. NZ has the resource of softwood to suit this type of treatment.

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Officebound,
The carbon sequestration from pine production forests will be assessed hereafter as the first 16 years of a first rotation forest and nothing thereafter. Subsequent rotations are assessed as sequestering zero because one has to cur down the first rotation forest to create the opportunity for the second rotation.
We currently have approximately 2 million hectares of pine forests.
It is not at all clear where the timber from a further increase will be sold. Indeed it is not clear where the wall of timber from the 1990 first rotation plantings is going to go.
The biggest market currently for NZ's pine timber is for formwork (boxing) in China, with this being for infrastructure development in China.  Lots of questions there as to the rate at which that will continue!  No doubt new markets will develop somewhere but the wall of logs to be sold is very large.
KeithW

 

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And the paradox of all this is that (processed) wood for construction still costs a fortune here.

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Yes, and that is why an increasing number of building companies now use steel for house structures. There is a lot of cost, both labour and energy,  incurred between a standing forest and structural timber.
KeithW

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Steel can be quite be squeaky when the temperature changes though.

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Squeaky? Have you ever stayed in a lockwood house 

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Yes. I've lived in a Lockwood.

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Yes we own two lockwoods, one of which I have stayed in for a short period and never heard any timber squeaking.  Now both homes are tenanted for the last 2 years and not had complaints.

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stayed in a friend's lockwood bach once. We thought there was an axe murderer up on the roof trying to get in because it cracked and creaked so much 😁

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This highlights that carbon bludging does nothing to make carbon sequestering products cheaper for the consumer than steel or concrete. If the billions are not coming back to the consumer where is all the carbon slush money going?

When you see pruned pine tree stands being locked up for carbon that tells you the carbon "market" is a farce and wood products will never become cheaper under these settings. Making steel more competitive to save the planet.

It is a systematic war on farming to remove family farms from the electorate. Replace groundswell with mute pine trees.

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profile
As long as the forests are in the ETS, then the carbon money comes from carbon emitters who have to pay for their emissions. Actually that includes any of us who directly or indirectly are paying for emitting carbon from fossil fuels. But of course this does not produce export income.
KeithW

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Keith, aware of where the carbon slush fund comes from. The question is where does it go and why does it have no effect on making carbon sequestering wood more competitive locally and globally? Is the whole point to change consumer behaviour? The carbon emitters are forced offshore and wood here is effectively made uncompetitive. Hence you seen pruned stands locked up for carbon less than 100km from the port.

Emitters are forced offshore and replaced with coal based foreign competition.

Local exporters are made uncompetitive (artificially sky high prices for sheep,beef and dairy grazing land) so it is effectively a subsidy for our foreign competitors.

Thus you have perverse situations when lower carbon natural gas methanol is pushed offshore and replaced with Chinese coal based methanol. The greens are desperate to the same with hydro based aluminium. NZ milk/beef replaced in the global market by Chinese milk made from lucerne shipped from California.

Impoverishment of a nation for the sake of smug virtue signaling - no planet was saved in this economic and environmental farce.

https://croakingcassandra.files.wordpress.com/2021/11/oecd-gdp-phw-2020…

https://croakingcassandra.files.wordpress.com/2021/11/the-next-three.png

 

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The price set in NZ is primarily indexed on export pricing… much like that for other primary based products.

the smaller sawmills died out as they didn’t have balance sheet nor scale to survive… the forester has limited options for his production… most dictated by his location to port vs domestic mills. He looks to maximise his revenue just like any business. Credits are a windfall as they made the decision to plant 25-30 years ago

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The one off ETS windfalls created by the price cap debacle are obscene - though thankfully most ETS holders, and parasitic carbon advisors, are ignorant of the loopholes. Have seen tiny, shitty woodlots produce some nice boats are cars derived from Shaw's price cap mess. The law of unintended consequences in this slush bonanza are epic - and unreported by the team of $55 million. Meanwhile NZ manufacturing is decimated and high paying jobs replaced by Alibaba clicks.

"E tū Negotiation Specialist Joe Gallagher says there’s much more that we should be doing to support NZ steel and the wider manufacturing industry.

“From pit to port, it’s time to support local steel production,” Joe says.

“We need to be creating a level playing field so that New Zealand isn’t constantly undercut by cheap steel imports."

https://www.etu.nz/nz-steel-plant-closure-a-blow-for-the-waiuku-communi…

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The price reflects the true environmental cost of emitting carbon, it is hardly obscene.

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Your comment suggests you are blissfully unaware of the risk free, windfall gains being made from the price cap debacle. Or does an inept governmental price cap blow out increase the "true environmental cost of emitting carbon". If the windfall cash sloshing around was the "true cost" there would be no crops planted and no animals reared.

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I agree. I've just been reading an article about plastic particles released from teabags when they brew and I'm thinking I must have absorbed quite a few plastic particles in my time. What if oil derived plastic becomes the new tobacco and anything plastic will have to be made from cellulose in the future? If wood fibre becomes the new oil then production forests will be very valuable items.

People will look at carbon credit forests and think what a waste. Then before you know it illegal loggers will be piling into those carbon forests and bribing the authorities to  look the other way just as they have done everywhere else. 

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I would like to see them make a requirement that all packaging etc, should be recyclable, compostable, or burnable. Wood product packaging, and spoons etc, could be burnt on the home fire, or at a local school or hospital etc  boiler for heat . It would be a very efficient life cycle.

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I often say in relation to complex environmental issues, that if people think there are simple solutions, then that is because they don’t understand the problem. 

Amen to that. Thanks for the article Keith.

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https://forestrycommission.blog.gov.uk/2020/07/17/right-tree-right-place-right-reason/

Great article Keith,

It certainly isn’t simple. I am very much pro native biodiversity but accept your valid points around difficulty of establishment and damage by introduced pests. I attach a link from the UK. They discourage extensive mono culture plantings and go for more of a mixed model.

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Waikatohome
I have seen some examples here in NZ where for visual purposes a mixed approach of various introduced species has been used. It can look rather nice.
KeithW

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Aesthetically it is certainly better but greater diversity is also more resilient and provides a greater number of niches for plants, animals and fungi. We often only see value through a human perspective. We should protect species diversity for its own sake - as well as ours. Native forest and understory loses a lot less soil than pine and therefore benefits aquatic (and ultimately marine) ecosystems too, through reduced sedimentation. 

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You have definitely got a point there Waikatohome, we have planted radiata as it is the obvious choice in very difficult country. But we are at the point that we are going to plant other species in future. We have Redwood plantation which are looking promising even on some very steep sunny country. There are some Mexican oaks that we are trialing with variable results. I have mixed thoughts on Eucalypts but Fastigata are performing well. 

I guess My point is, if the objective is to create a forest on marginal grassland then Radiata is the way to achieve this objective in a timely manner. And most of the country that requires this is mostly remote and not really noticed by many. In the end in 200yrs or so it will most likely be a mixture of podocarp and pine. People will drive by and remark on the lovely wilderness. What a great result.

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Hans, I agree with everything you have said here. 
I too am fascinated by redwood but I am told they don't like frost which can be an issue for us down here in Canterbury.

I always read your comments with great interest, given they are based on your long experience plus reflections thereof.
KeithW

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Are pine trees the problem or the solution?

Neither.

Fossil fuels are the problem and not using them is the only solution.

Regarding native regeneration. I'd be interested to know how fast regeneration occurred after natural disasters such as the Taupo eruption or whatever flattened all the Kauri? Any studies been attempted on that. Certainly our Shakey isles have a penchant for severe destruction of whole ecosystems but these appear to regrow in time, maybe that's all we are.

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Interesting article Keith Keith thank you, I notice that the pine forests near me have a substantial understory of native anyway,  no doubt it is destroyed when they are harvested. Wouldn't some native survive or take over as permanent pine plantings die off or are affected by storm damage? This would presume a seed bank exists to do so .

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Fairlyfrank
Selective logging can be done in some situations without destroying the understory. But this is in situations where transition to natives is a specific long term objective. I recently visited and stayed with one farmer who is now in a position to do this.  And just near my home there is a small forest area which is transitioning, with at this stage the understory being about four metres in height. I was walking in it this morning.
KeithW

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Thanks for an interesting and informative piece, Keith.

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Thanks Keith, great question. I'm also slightly concerned that, with changing climate and higher average temperatures, native species that once grew at a particular latitude may do less well at that latitude and may need to 'migrate south'.

Here in north Waikato Australian gum and wattle grow very quickly on my steep land, almost as quickly as pine.  The natives do come through underneath but slowly.

If we want to preserve native species, we may need to think about future proofing by planting Northland species in Southland ... ?

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Our natives tend to be constrained more by coldness than warmth.  That is why pines were planted in the South Island by the Forest Service during the 1960s and 70s.  And that is why the wildings now march up mountainsides where natives will not go, and which the Government is now trying to eradicate. The pines also grow in areas too dry for natives.
KeithW

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Taraire and Rimu are really struggling in the top half of the NI with consecutive hot, dry summers.

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Why doesn’t the govt plant pine trees en masse, and set up a plant that manufactures timber into cross laminated timber for apartment building?

it could be used in the government’s own house building programme but also sold to developers.

undertaken en masse, CLT apartments could be built 20% cheaper than traditional concrete and steel apartments, NZ would be less susceptible to external supply shocks, and it’s good for climate change

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Red Stag in Rotorua is commissioning a large CLT plant. A similar plant being developed in Gisborne. Be interesting as steel and concrete rise in price as they have large embedded fossil fuel costs which as we all know are rising through markets and carbon costs.

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"...which as we all know are rising through markets and carbon costs." Yeah, nah. Your utopian ideals are not present in the real world. All the carbon bludgers are doing is shifting production offshore to countries with far lower environmental standards than our own. Alibaba and the Chinese/Indonesia strip miners thank you. Our red meat and milk competitors say cheers for the effective subsidy on their production. Did Xlam CTL plant in Nelson last ten years - before shifting production to Oz.

"E tū Negotiation Specialist Joe Gallagher says there’s much more that we should be doing to support NZ steel and the wider manufacturing industry.

“From pit to port, it’s time to support local steel production,” Joe says.

“We need to be creating a level playing field so that New Zealand isn’t constantly undercut by cheap steel imports."

https://www.etu.nz/nz-steel-plant-closure-a-blow-for-the-waiuku-communi…

 

 

 

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On the conservation estate? No it goes against green philosophy, non-native pines, logging crews and equip, road access

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But the areas we are talking about are not part of the Conservation Estate
KeithW

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And doc will allow milling of exotics on their land, if it suits there plans for the area.

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I think the government did used to plant lots of pine trees on government land.  But then in the 80s when everything was privatised it was all sold off.  And so now most of it's foreign owned I think.

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Good article Keith

What interests me is that no one so far seems to concerned about the soil erosion in the photo. As you say there is around 1 million ha - thats a lot of land - that suffers from what the photo shows. Its been going on for decades but we seem to believe its ok. This soil is ending up in our waterways and finally ocean floors. With increased focus on the environment from markets (Silver Fern Farms etc) I wonder how long this will be allowed to carry on by the market.

That aside if we see even more of this, more often with a warming climate the farmers themselves will be driven from the land by pure economics (ie go broke) - what bank will lend to this sort of environmental damage/high risk of economic loss in the future? Who will buy the land - I can assure you commercial forestry wont touch this with a barge pole so your are left with????

 

 

 

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Erosion is a natural process that has been going on for thousands of years.  Its how the canterbury Plaines were formed. 

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The photo is human induced erosion through native forest clearance. It is in no way a "natural" erosion event. I don't think many would say this is sustainable environmentally or economically

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Perhaps in some areas that are prone to fires Australian natives could be considered.  Have there been any studies done on our native bird densities in monoculture pine forests here or other non native forests . Our australian bottlebrush always has a lot of Tui's and wax eyes in it .

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https://www.nzgeo.com/stories/pine-forest-natives/

Have read of this - some science instead of "I reckon" from scientists

Shows what pines can do and there limitations. Looks like Kakapo love eating them !!!

 

 

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Thank you for the link Jack good read pines can be beneficial to native species in the right location .

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The dirty secret is kiwi thrive under predator free radiata plantations. Deep litter layer and fast rotting bug filled debris is preferable to neighbouring native regeneration. 

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Is that true? Got any evidence or links please? 

EDIT: Oh I read the link above, it seems you're right, which is super encouraging.

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Why is it a dirty secret?

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Great link, thanks.

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Trees on the hilltops are also good for collecting moisture and limiting impacts of drought

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fog_drip

https://www.americanforests.org/article/no-trees-means-no-rain/

 

There are many other examples of research in that area

Here's one on the "...impact of deforestation on hydrological processes..."

http://www.ciesin.org/docs/002-159/002-159.html

 

Here's someone who knew about the "influence of forests on rainfall" a while ago

https://www.jstor.org/stable/42591668

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Newly planted native forests need lots of tender loving care if they are to survive, combined with deep pockets of money to make it happen

Not the first time i have heard this comment, i find it hard to reconcile with what i see.

Surely the titoki, plagianthus, hoheria (lacebark), pittos, cordylines and coprosma, amongst others do a marvellous job of establishing quick enough. Otherwise how would motorway berms etc be established. Do people think of kauri and rimu when making such statements. My neighbour grows kauri trees from seed and yes they need Tlc in the first stage when in seed trays, after that they are fine.

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Yes, there is a little reserve in front of where we live and birds plant native seedlings there all the time, some are taller than me now and we've been here ten years.  Maybe  livestock and rabbits are one of the problems they don't establish them on the hills, i'm not sure I'll let others comment on that.

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I'm doing some restoration - although there's lots of birds and a good seed source relying on odd seedlings that establish would be a very long road - they come up on bare land and immediately adjacent to a forested area but not where there's grass.

So the costs involved - fencing the area; propagating and planting seedlings (and in a dry summer if you can't get water to them many will die); dealing to the possums, rabbits, goats, deer and god knows what else that wants to eat them; and then hours and hours per hectare per year controlling invasive weeds until the natives grow big enough to shade them out.

 

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Plant may to sept, will be established in time for summer, shoot the goats and deer, wild game meat 

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I found through trial and error that a mix of Kanuka, Manuka, comprosma robusta, pittosporum Karo, cabbage tree and ake ake will establish fairly quickly without weed control and survive summer dry. The trick is to plant fairly densely in the winter. I then plant Totara and Rimu in year 3 once they have some shelter from the first plantings. Loses are fairly low. Can’t grow Titoki as it seems to get eaten by a beetle. 

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Yes, I have planted the first six you mention. Totara grows on Banks Peninsula, but there is more rain there than where we are. We have planted some hundreds of natives in our garden, but that is very different than doing it at scale.
KeithW

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No reasons given though. Large scale is usually a big version of its smaller cousin, I think waikatohome described well.  We had a plan done for 250m of Waikato stream bank, never went ahead but was along the lines of what WH said 

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Alas, costs that can be absorbed on small scale, where aesthetic objectives can take precedence, become much more important at large scale.  Also, natives are much easier to establish in gullies and adjacent to streams than on open sunny faces. My understanding is that small native forests within reserves typically cost $50,000 or more per hectare to establish, and this excludes the voluntary labour that is often used.
KeithW

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Does that figure make allowance for not incurring  the alternative cost of planting pines. There is also the not small problem of managing wilding pines.

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The budgets I see for planting pine have been less than $3000 per hectare until recently but are now starting to come in above this.  But still a tiny fraction of the costs for natives. 

The worst species of the wilding pine issues are Pinus contorta (lodgepole) and douglas fir. But radiata can also be important. The key issues for wildings are in the South Island east of the main divide where seed can be carried big distances in the norwest wind.     As always, it is about having the right tree in the right places.  With few exceptions, the areas of wildings are in places where there is zero chance of getting natives established, and the wildings are taking over from typically degraded tussocks.   I have many photos taken over the years of wildings marching east across the dry tussock lands.
KeithW

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Great answer thanks KW

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I think from your other posts that you aren't too far from me Waikatohome, don't you have problems with privet?

If I fence cattle out of a native fragment, an understory of privet comes up, numerous seedlings per sqm. It's not worth doing unless you can commit to the time to pull them out for the next few years. It doesn't help that the council has plantations of the stuff growing on the roadsides and reserves.

I read with horror about moth plant that they battle in Northland. If that comes here, I give up.

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-

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I do have privet. The older trees make quite good firewood. I attack it at times and stump treat as I don’t like spraying. I also have barberry. They do provide some shelter for natives and can be cut out when time allows. I haven’t had any funding so plant what I can afford, around $500 -$1000 of tray trees each year. I clear the area as I plant and if planted densely enough they seem to compete quite well. I also like tagaste (tree lucerne) for sheltering natives and providing stock food for summer dry. The tagaste flowers are good for bees and kereru like them too.

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I plant about 2000 plants a year on my parents dairy farm.  800 of those would be grasses in or along stream/seeps.  Another 400 would be flaxes and the rest are trees like: manuka, kanuka, coprosma robusta, cabbage, mahoe (whitey wood) etc.  These species of trees are called 'pioneer' species because they're hardy and can establish in full sun, full wind, both wet and dry areas (within reason) etc.

But it is a LOT of work to get it done.  They need looking after for the first 2 years.  Then they are big enough to not get grown over by weeds, not need stakes against the wind etc.  We'd lose maybe 10% of them.  Some of them just die for no reason - this is common and to be expected.  Some other farms around us that don't spend as much time looking after them lose 40%, which is staggering.  The main culprit being wind.

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Once I found the right pioneer mix my losses reduced a lot. Made the mistake of planting Rimu too early and the drought killed it in the first summer. Rimu planted within established mixed plantings are surviving well. Most of my losses come from weed whacker mistakes! As I try to be spray free. What frustrates me is that there is only funding for  complete 1ha + blocks. I want to plant over 1 ha in total but spread over multiple areas and this doesn’t qualify. I am also maintaining over 1ha of exisiting council covenant  bush and wetland.

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Yup those weed wacker prunings frustrating. Trying plastic drainflo around the bases to avoid that and rabbit damage.

I'm also frustrated by the 1ha minimum. Ive got 4 ha, but long and skinny.i could and want to plant a ha, but the 30 metre wide is a pain. Am thinking of approaching the council to see if I can get permission to plant and count part of a reserve, in exchange for mowing the reserve .

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The 1 ha minimum and soil carbon not included is so sheep and beef isn't shown the be carbon neutral or better. If 1 ha is relaxed and soil carbon included Shaw can't beat farmers with a stick - and have wholesale planting of farms in to pines.  It is a rort.

"Dr Bradley Case at Auckland University of Technology (AUT) estimates the woody vegetation on New Zealand sheep and beef farms is offsetting between 63 percent and 118 percent of their on-farm agricultural emissions.

...Importantly, the net carbon emissions estimation assumed a net-neutral rate for soil sequestration so the amount of sequestration happening could be even greater."

https://beeflambnz.com/net-carbon-report

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Try akeake, I have found to be the toughest.

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Well, way back when, a lot of "TLC" was put into destroying as much possible of the permanent native forest. It seems to me we should not be quibbling about how much it will cost to re-establish a fair bit of it, especially on that land that is pretty much no use for anything else and should never have been cleared in the first place. 

It's our fault it's no longer there, it's our responsibility to put some of it back

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But the land we are talking about is  not in the Conservation estate. So who should pay for it?  
It is definitely not economic for private landowners to do it with natives, but it is economic with introduced species.
KeithW

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Another good article (and comment thread) - thanks Keith.

What was on these hillsides before clearing and decades of sheep grazing left them in a perilous eroded state? Presumably natives? The cost of proper restoration is only prohibitive because we have been happily destroying our land and rivers for profit and short-term gains for decades - without pricing in the externalities. We are doing the same with water quality. 

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That old expression about the cost of everything and the value of nothing

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She's a pretty big discussion this one. Will the pollies get it right? Fat chance unfortunately, but at least the conversation [in earnest] has begun.

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I have a parable about a particular pine tree.   When I was a boy growing up in a South Auckland suburb, we settled in a house on the Great South Road when I was 5 years old.  I quickly made friends with the boy across the road who was a little younger than myself.  His father ran the local bus company and their large section usually had old buses spread around it.

We soon became adventurous and began crossing his back fence to a paddock and then crossed another wire fence to enter the 'native bush'.  This bush  was to be our playground for the next decade.  We fished in the creek that ran through the bush, had stick fights with other boys across the small valley which contained the creek, made huts and of course climbed trees. As we got older we climbed taller and taller trees until we only had the tallest tree left to climb:  it was a giant pine tree set on a knoll within the native bush and towered as if it was the top dog over the canopy of native trees.  It presented us with a final challenge which was to scale its full height; it was a challenge not only because of its height but also because its lower branches in particular were large in circumference and their bark was rough and scaly.  

One afternoon we decided that this was the day and we started to climb it.  It was quite a frightening ordeal but we finally made it to the top.  We had a spectacular view not only over the rest of the bush but also down to the back steps my friend's home where our mothers stood yelling and gesticulating for us to come down.

After we had gingerly descended we were delirious with joy that we had conquered that tallest tree, that exotic tree that was king of the native bush.  That must have been around 1960.  

From then on we went our separate ways and formed different friendships.  I eventually moved away from town and so did my friend and his family.

I never returned to that town until about 50 years later when I had occasion to visit an elderly relative who still lived there.  For nostalgia's sake I wanted to take a look at this tree so I stopped outside of my old house, got out of my car and stood on the footpath to better take a look at it.

At first I couldn't see it; there was no sign of it standing proud above the still-flourishing green of the native bush.  I peered in vain until finally the reality came into focus:  the top third of the tree that used to stand high above the canopy had broken and fallen down beside the remaining tree but still hung on to it by a thread.  It had clearly thrown in the towel.   Not only that but the house and bus business of my friend's family had disappeared;  in its place, was a new white Sikh temple with glinting gold copulas.

I felt a pang of sadness at these changes and later wondered if there was any message I should take from this experience.

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Nothing lasts forever i guess. I wonder if there are other young boys following in your footsteps somewhere 

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Interesting story, which for me is about things changing at different rates.  If you go back when you turn 500 there will still be echoes of the past.

Going back to my old schools is poignant for me.  Would love to go back and redo my school years better.

I wonder if that prominant pine got struck by lightening?

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Yes me too, it would be fun, but as they say you cannot put an old head on young shoulders.

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Thanks Keith. A complex matter and one that’s suffers from uniformed armchair critics.
Great that int.co provides a forum for such an important issue.

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Yes, it is a key reason I like writing for Interest.co  
KeithW

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I watched an interesting episode on Hyandai Country Calendar which looks at the impacts on farm land of wilding pines. Would we be able to manage the impacts of pine forests so that the benefits far out way the negatives? I’m yet to be convinced after watching this. Highly recommend watching!

https://www.tvnz.co.nz/shows/country-calendar/episodes/s2022-e2

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Currently we have approximately 2 million hectares of pine production forests in New Zealand.  The wilding pine issue is essentially an issue of the dry tussock lands east of the South Island main divide. I too enjoy Country Calendar but there are dangers of coming to broad conclusions from programmes such as this.
KeithW

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I was told a while ago that these days you need to pay to appear on Country Calendar. Since then I have noticed that yes indeed the subject of each episode is running a business that would benefit from the publicity. Can anyone confirm that this is going on and we are actually watching advertorials on Sunday nights?

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accidental double post

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Everything is so PC nowdays. To the extent that stupid things happen on a regular basis.

I believe that pines absorb C really fast when first planted.

Over the long term fires happen. And some are as a result of lightning.

So if C absorption was the aim, why not have pine forests? That way they can repeatedly grow from scratch, performing their more effective C absorption role.

Personally I really like the look of pine forests, wilding or not. Queenstown looks fantastic.

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Ecosystem collapse is as dangerous to the survival of the human species as C02 induced climate change. Pine trees may help to solve one issue but they are not the answer to our wider environmental problems. We will need a combination of pine, other exotics and native restoration in order to meet climate and biodiversity targets. I would like to see incentives for small scale plantings along boundaries. If every land owner did this, it would provide corridors linking forest fragments and make a much greater contribution than isolated hectare blocks.

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If you drive through the karangahake gorge, you will see a good example of pine transitioning to natives. Doc have done some work, but most is too steep to access. I used to despair at the pines in there, but in the 20 years or so I have been here, the transition is noticeable. Wattles are more of a problem on the Coromandel, as they seem to shade everything out completely. I don't know what happens as they age, as I haven't been back to the land I lived on up there  Hakea seemed to thrive on eroded hillsides, creating conditions for fire, which suits it.much of the hills have little topsoil left, and seem to be deficient in some element natives need to grow. The large tracts of land planted in pine would probably still just be scrub to be honest, if not pine. A nursery crop is needed,I think. If course this is land where kauri reigned supreme, over 1000's of years to slowly adapt. 

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Hopefully some compromise will be possible. I would think a management plan, pest control, pockets of natives, natives along streams and roadways, seed broadcasting etc, are all possible requirements that would make permanent pine acceptable.

My question to Keith ( and probably Jack), what is the difference between permanent and rotational over the first 15 years, as far as credits go. Can you convert a rotational forest to permanent at some stage, and v.v

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The credits are the same - if the permamant option is there you can convert. Don't get tied up in numbers or category the trees don't hear any of that. They will just grow whether we log them or not.

I think the overall issue is that we have 2 problems

1. Carbon - we need to reduce/suck up large volumes fast.

To do this we either stop putting it into the air, (which I think will be very hard as people dont really want to change to much) or re capture it. Trees are the only cost effective option we have. If you want to do it fast exotics win hands down on cost and effectiveness. We are now in a position where we don't have much choice from dithering around for 30 years.

2. Biodiversity  - we need to improve this and grow it again

Exotics do this but native forest has more and is the gold plated standard. The issue is the cost to do this fast is prohibitive plus we don't have the resources, seedlings and labour, to do any scale. (let alone the issue of the landowners who aren't keen). Also its very slow to absorb carbon so we cant achieve carbon capture goals.

At the same time the photo Keith has shows another need - soil conservation which is never talked about any more but without soil you cant do much on the land - we need to save and conserve what we have left.

It may seem an either or approach but we need both - we need to be realistic about how much gold plated we can afford to do straight up  - do some but in the right places were it will succeed (pest, weed control etc). Some native areas also need to be just left to regenerate - it will get there in time - just dosnt store carbon fast enough but we can afford to have a lot of this as well if we use exotics beside it to balance that side up. People grossly underestimate the power of nature.

My personal view on the native is we need to save our existing native forests - the carbon and biodiversity loss occurring through pests is horrific. People do not realise this as they see photos of tree canopies and think all is good. Saving that is not hard - pest control - no weeding or new seedlings required etc - Just money but a lot less than planting a new ha of native - 1080 on broadscale is very cheap.

Hans Brinks comments earlier show what he is seeing (and I see it to)  - no pest control the birds (and Invertebrates etc) are eaten alive along with vegetation (carbon).

If rational we are very lucky in NZ in having the options to materially do something - its just people who get in the way.

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Thanks. I'd love to have more land to do more. The owner of the steep 100 ha I was looking at has put it on the market for 2 mil, out of my reach, he may get it if the speculators decide they could subdivide.

Probably a sign of things to come if the carbon price goes as predicted.

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Yes, soil erosion! We used to have a soil board in this country.  And now we don't talk about it at all.

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Pine vs Native doesn't have to be a mutually exclusive choice, a fact that most articles don't seem to pick up on. NZ Carbon Farming, for example, plants pine initially to serve as a quick carbon capture and nurse crop, then transitions to native in the longer term (alongside pest control and other forest ecology improvements).

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Agreed. But the transition, if left to nature, needs a seed bank.

KeithW

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Indeed. Some locations have natural native seed banks close by and will self seed via Birds and wind etc, others may need to have those sources planted within or introduced other ways. The 'permanent pine' tag line gives the impression that areas will be heavily stocked pine monoculture for all time....

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I agree that there is  confusion around terminology.  I prefer the term non-harvested.   Some of these forests may live for many hundreds of years as naturally regenerating pine forests; others may transition to natives.
KeithW

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Also, if less than 100 ha, pine only needs to be the dominant species to be counted as pine. As far as I can figure, there's nothing to stop you planting natives as well, so long as the pines cover the minimum requirements.

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Thanks Keith for time and consideration you have given this topic.

The 30% canopy cover, permanent forestry option allows for silvopasture.  Deciduous exotics are nearly as easy as pine to establish (from a reputatable nursery).  I have stood on hillsides planted in alders, poplars and acaccias at 10yrs old and over the 30 % canopy cover.  The grass was better than on dry exposed slopes, no wind!  The more creative amongst us could ensure bee and bird forage for 12 months through species selection.  10% conifers included for nesting and shelter.  The possibilities are endless and could be funded through the ETS as it currently stands.  Also addresses the devastating erosion in your photo whilst offering multiple income streams for the future.

It's not pine vrs pasture vrs native.  A multi-faceted diverse landscape will have elements of all possibilties as not all land owners want to do the same thing..  It would be a pity if the ETS were to become more prescriptive as creativity will suffer, the consequence of which will be reflected in future landscapes.

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Good comment. ETS could be designed to promote land use enhancement and climate resilience.

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The ETS works on a single objective basis related to carbon sequestration ad has no other objective. This is fundamental to it retaining its integrity.

So other objectives need to be promoted outside of this scheme.

KeithW

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Farm forestry.org has extensive lists and articles on trees for fodder.

Some species can supply as much DM per Ha as the best pasture.

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Very interesting point maltwix there must be room for a reasonable alternative to blanket pine coverage,  especially if it can provide pasture as well this would assist in addressing the concerns of many rural areas regarding employment losses. Also a cheaper establishment cost for farmers and an environmental win all round while still addressing carbon capture. 

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Most attempts at mixed forest and grazing have not been greatly successful. But there are a few exceptions with some very specific tree species and with people who are particularly committed.
KeithW

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Part of the problem (and possibly a very big part) is that the low sequestration rates for native forest in the ETS look-up tables are based on very limited data. See Mark Kimberley's recent article which discusses this issue https://pureadvantage.org/setting-the-record-straight-on-carbon-sequest…. In any case it's apples/oranges trying to compare per-hectare establishment costs of vast swathes of commercial, $ driven monoculture versus comparatively tiny/fragmented high diversity native vegetation for conservation/non-monetary purposes.

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Richard,
The look-up tables are conservative for all species.

The professional foresters tell me they are regularly greatly exceeding these sequestrations for exotics on their large-scale blocks where sequestration has to be measured rather than assumed from the look-up tables.

I am not aware of any convincing evidence that on a relative basis the look-up tables disadvantage natives.

Also, the examples in the Pure Advantage article relate to small areas typically in favoured locations. It is very different on steep sunny-facing slopes.

KeithW

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And in which case these large scale exotic forest owners are unlocking higher rates of carbon income via the field measurement method. Field measurement would be relatively more expensive for small block owners and native forest restoration which is why the look-up tables exist in the first place. It would be beneficial if ETS field measurement data could be used to refine/improve the look-up tables so small block owners can access higher income if in fact on average the look-up tables underestimate exotic sequestration rates also.

On the question of relativity I think most parties looking to afforest with natives are doing so for multiple outcomes - financial return is just one component and possibly not the main driver. So any increase in look-up table native sequestration rates would be welcome, as you point out as long as it's based on robust data. Which is Mark Kimberley's point - the native look-up data table appears to be based on a subset of is in any case an insufficent body of knowledge.

There are other ways to further validate/improve the look-up tables e.g. LIDAR with combined with ground-truthing plots ... not my area of knowledge though.

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Something similar to this technology , i take it .

 https://sketchfab.com/3d-models/whareongaonga-landslide-21st-december-2…

Edit , then I read my own link , and see it uses LIDAR. sorry . 

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There is work going on to reassess the values used in the look-up tables.  But the big problem with look-up tables is the huge variation in real-world growth rates. An alternative would be say 5-year measurements of blocks down to at least 20 ha and arguably lower.  My forester networks say that the costs of this would be reasonable relative to the value of the information.   But I don't see this is greatly changing the relativities between native and indigenous species. If anything, it would highlight the challenges of growing new native forests unless the conditions are optimal. In that context, Mark Kimberley's data is also very much a subset.
KeithW

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Just imagine if we still had most of the country covered in native forest and had the Moa still running about, the whole country could survive on just tourism, but alas we buggered the whole country.

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Ye'd haveta go back around 7-8 centuries to get back the mountain to sea forest on the East Coast of the South Island. Burnt to a crisp chasing them big birds......

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The photo in your article is a great example of land that should never have been cleared of native forest.

The two largest costs of exotic forest are harvesting and transport. Put simply steep poor access remote from ports forests are not economic for exotic timber production

Planting exotics that will not be harvested will be an environmental disaster expensive to fix when we have to aerially poisoning these old man pines and wilding pines (yes radiata) spread through the district. Go to any cut over radiata site and you will see wildings germinate like hair on a cats back

Natives are excellent at colonising steep eroded lands. The article mentions ‘scrub’ – this is the first stage of nature (natives) taking the land back to what it once was. Fence out stock, control the weeds and nature will eventually take it back to what it once was – often faster than planting

Exotic timber plantations have a place – and always will, particularly for construction

Production forestry in the northern hemisphere have typical rotations of 60 years or so, no longer than any of our native species. It’s time for us to move on from the fast growing mono cultures. The totara forest I planted 8 years ago I will not see harvested – does that matter? My successors will harvest and hopefully continue to plant for their successors. If planted well the survival rate is as good as any exotic forests I have planted

Time to stop looking for short term fixes and start playing the long game. Every farm has 5 – 10% that currently low productivity. These areas should be retired, weeds controlled and let natives reclaim. If farmers are indeed stewards of the land – they need to act on this, and now.

Only native forests should be permanent for carbon sequestration

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Yes it all starts with Manuka as the "scrub" which now just happens to make one of the most expensive honey around. Totara are really great at self seeding, they were growing like weeds up the block in Puhoi. I think the seeds get spread by the wood pigeons.  Yes all the steep terrain should have never been cleared in the first place, tragic really. Even if we started re forestation now it would take generations to really come back and the government provides no incentive because everything is now short term thinking.

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But the interesting thing is that with pine and some other exotic species we could get these slopes forested and stabilised in less than 15 years. And it could be done without any Government assistance if permanent (non-harvested) forests were in the ETS.   Without being in the ETS, it is not going to happen.  And as you say, reversion via manuka would take multiple human generations. Also, what happens in gullies does not happen on sunny faces.
KeithW

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Non economic for pasture eroding slopes will regenerate into natives in far less than 15 years without the cost of planting. If you took a minimum of 5 – 10% of every farm and incentivised fencing off and regeneration to natives we would go a long way to answering our emission targets without the downside of complete farms lost to exotic forests and depopulation of rural communities. There also would not be the huge environmental liability of wilding pines if not harvested

Incentives to farmers could be one off grants with covenants or credits in the emissions trading scheme (so long as the scheme is made considerably simpler and cost effective to use). Sooner or later farmers will have to account for their carbon emissions – so here is a way to lessen the shock

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Unfortunately, the assertion that these lands will revert naturally over these time periods is not consistent with either the science or experience. 

KeithW

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Not so, it depends on how hard you want to look. There are hundreds of articles on line from DOC, to regional councils to Tane’s Tree Trust on how do this – both the science and the experience

Here is but one example https://pureadvantage.org/restoration-need-not-cost-the-earth/

In areas of early settlement such as Hawkes Bay and Canterbury where every sign of native vegetation was wiped there is little seed source and so yes native regeneration will need a hand. In most other places where there is seed source native regeneration will happen so long as the stock are excluded, weeds are controlled and ideally bird predators managed. Where there is gorse present follow the success of Hinewai Nature Reserve (Banks Peninsula)

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I remember seeing a picture of a demonstration of the effects of deer and goats on understory native growth. It was maybe a 10 M2 square fenced area. Totally crammed with trees. The area around was completely bare .

 

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Have you visited Eastwoodhill National Arboretum? On my list of things to do.

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