Govt Questions Accuracy of Forestry Report

Wednesday 18 Aug 2021

The Government claims a BakerAg analysis on the amount of land being planted in forestry has over-egged the area by 37%.

But the report authors attribute any discrepancy to delays between completed land sales and planting.

BakerAg calculated 139,500ha of new forestry was planted from 2017-2020 by tracking farm sales and titles data, cross referenced with companies known to be forestry or carbon farming companies.

Agricultural Minister Damien O’Connor says his officials have calculated the area of new forestry planted over that period at 87,200ha, 20,000ha a year, 37% lower than BakerAg.

“Government afforestation estimates are based on a combination of land-use mapping, nursery sales and funding within the one billion tree programme,” O’Connor said

He says 20 years of deforestation has reduced the forest estate by about 70,000ha.

The BakerAg report was commissioned by Beef + Lamb NZ and concluded whole farm purchases by forestry companies resulted in 92,000ha of new exotic forest planting between 2017 and 2020.

A further 47,400ha was planted under the one billion trees programme and other planting incentives.

B+LNZ was most concerned that 34% of whole farm purchases were to carbon farming companies, planted in exotic forest and left untouched with carbon credits sold to emitters.

It warns this demand is pushing up land prices, locking young farmers out of the market and resulting in the loss of breeding country while also robbing rural communities of population and services.

O’Connor says the Government is listening to concerns, is committed to a policy of “right tree, right place” and closely monitors forest planting. But it will not cut across farmers’ rights to make decisions about their land.



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