Aratu Forests branches out with ElandNZ

Wednesday 15 Sep 2021

One of the country’s largest forestry plantation owners, Aratu Forests, has signed a 90-year agreement with eLandNZ to plant native trees on unusable land, creating permanent buffers alongside waterways.

The partnership, brokered by law firm Anderson Lloyd, plans to stop forestry waste, such as logs, from being washed into waterways by planting native trees on otherwise unusable stretches of land across 33,000 hectares of forestry plantation, mostly in the Gisborne region, forestry law specialist Dan Williams said.

About 170 ha of riparian land would be planted this year, according to the eLandNZ website. eLandNZ describes itself as a sustainable land use company, will manage the ongoing planting. The scheme has the backing of Ūawanui, the Gisborne District Council and Crown Research Institute Scion.

Williams said besides protecting waterways from slash it was also hoped that use of marginal land for planting natives would benefit Gisborne and enhance sustainability and biodiversity. Native trees would help to stabilise the plantation lands and prevent water run off that could lead to slash events like Tolaga Bay, as well as storing more carbon.

Biodiversity and sustainability were becoming an attractive selling point for both investors and lenders, and was a growing part of the law firm's business, he said. Ten to 15 years ago, Aratu might have left the unusable forestry land, Williams said. “But now, we can help our clients realise value that’s more than just economic.”

Anderson Lloyd has employed specialists in carbon trading, the Emissions Trading Scheme and climate change, because of the increased interest. Changes to the regulatory approach had led to new business opportunities for farmers, because the rising price of carbon meant farmers could plant trees or establish other carbon projects on marginal land, he said.



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