Plans for 100,000 hectares of durable eucalypt trees

The NZ Dryland Forests Initiative

The NZ Dryland Forests Initiative

A plantation of durable eucalyptus. These can be used to make vineyard posts. Picture supplied

The NZ Dryland Forests Initiative (NZDFI) has released a consultation paper as a first step towards developing a regionally based strategic plan for Government and private sector collaboration.

It involves the planting of 100,000 hectares of durable eucalypt trees in New Zealand’s East Coast regions as part of the Government’s One Billion Trees programme.

NZDFI’s first regional value chain is most likely in the Hawkes Bay/Gisborne regions and in Wairarapa based on short rotation forests that will commence in 2035 to supply small peeler logs to produce super-stiff laminated vineer lumber (LVL).

The consultation paper: Durable eucalypt forests: a multi-regional opportunity for investment in NZ drylands outlines the case for durable eucalypts in East Coast regions.

Trees an exciting alternative to traditional agriculture

The trees are considered an exciting alternative to traditional agriculture and radiata pine forestry.

NZDFI proposes these eucalypt forests and woodlots will be established in New Zealand’s East Coast regions by 2030.

These could generate an estimated $2 billion in annual sales of naturally durable timber products by 2050.

Regional development and employment could be generated through local processing to produce high-value export products that are a sustainable alternative to unsustainably logged tropical hardwoods.

'The time is right'

“Since 2008, over $3 million has been invested into the NZDFI’s tree breeding and research to develop the foundation of our vision for NZ’s east coast regions to have 100,000 hectares of durable eucalypt forests,” said Shaf van Ballekom, chairman of the NZDFI and CEO of Proseed Ltd, Australasia’s largest producer of tree seed.

“The time is right to go out to the regions and to consult with people.

“We want to hear from those in central and regional government who are involved in land management and regional economic development, as well as those in the forestry and agriculture industries who might want to take up this opportunity.

“We want to work with them to develop a plan to get durable eucalypts planted, commencing in 2020 — just two planting seasons away,” Mr van Ballekom said.

Initial substantial markets for the durable timber produced by these trees could include engineered wood products such as laminated veneer lumber (LVL), and as posts for vineyards, agriculture and horticulture.

“Chromated copper arsenate (CCA) treated radiata pine posts are becoming increasingly less acceptable in sustainable wine and food growing systems, because of problems with their disposal and potential ground contamination.

The vineyard industry currently breaks an estimated one million CCA-treated posts per year.

Other potential markets

Other potential markets for the very strong, durable timber include electricity cross-arms, railway sleepers, and structures such as bridges and marine wharves.

Marlborough research centre chief executive Gerald Hope, said in terms of their contribution to supporting sustainable grape-growing in Marlborough, durable locally grown timbers offer a huge benefit.

“Marlborough is confronted with the problem of how to dispose of many hundreds of thousands of broken CCA-treated posts.

“We also have large areas of East Coast hill country with relatively low rainfall where we see huge potential for farmers to diversify into growing selected dryland species.”

A key focus of NZDFI’s research and development to date has been to establish an extensive regional breeding trial network, and the development of novel techniques for rapid selection and propagation of high-performing genetic material.

“This will lead to the production of improved planting stock, with the first elite seedlings due for release in 2020,” Mr Hope said.

This work is being done by the NZDFI science team, including a large group of academics and researchers from University of Canterbury’s NZ School of Forestry (UC).

Professor Bruce Manley, who leads the research team at UC, said the team has now been recognised internationally as leading the way in a whole raft of research associated with breeding, growing, and processing durable eucalypts.

“The DFI research project includes seven of our academic staff as well as eight PhD students. It is exciting to be involved with such a collaborative and innovative project.”

Feedback sought

Feedback on the consultation paper is sought from all interested parties.

The outcomes of the consultation will include establishing a working group which will become active in implementing the regional plan. - NZDFI

  • The full consultation paper is available on the NZDFI website while the questionnaire is available at http://nzdfi.org.nz/

The NZ Dryland Forests Initiative (NZDFI) has released a consultation paper as a first step towards developing a regionally based strategic plan for Government and private sector collaboration.

It involves the planting of 100,000 hectares of durable eucalypt trees in New Zealand’s East Coast regions as part of the Government’s One Billion Trees programme.

NZDFI’s first regional value chain is most likely in the Hawkes Bay/Gisborne regions and in Wairarapa based on short rotation forests that will commence in 2035 to supply small peeler logs to produce super-stiff laminated vineer lumber (LVL).

The consultation paper: Durable eucalypt forests: a multi-regional opportunity for investment in NZ drylands outlines the case for durable eucalypts in East Coast regions.

Trees an exciting alternative to traditional agriculture

The trees are considered an exciting alternative to traditional agriculture and radiata pine forestry.

NZDFI proposes these eucalypt forests and woodlots will be established in New Zealand’s East Coast regions by 2030.

These could generate an estimated $2 billion in annual sales of naturally durable timber products by 2050.

Regional development and employment could be generated through local processing to produce high-value export products that are a sustainable alternative to unsustainably logged tropical hardwoods.

'The time is right'

“Since 2008, over $3 million has been invested into the NZDFI’s tree breeding and research to develop the foundation of our vision for NZ’s east coast regions to have 100,000 hectares of durable eucalypt forests,” said Shaf van Ballekom, chairman of the NZDFI and CEO of Proseed Ltd, Australasia’s largest producer of tree seed.

“The time is right to go out to the regions and to consult with people.

“We want to hear from those in central and regional government who are involved in land management and regional economic development, as well as those in the forestry and agriculture industries who might want to take up this opportunity.

“We want to work with them to develop a plan to get durable eucalypts planted, commencing in 2020 — just two planting seasons away,” Mr van Ballekom said.

Initial substantial markets for the durable timber produced by these trees could include engineered wood products such as laminated veneer lumber (LVL), and as posts for vineyards, agriculture and horticulture.

“Chromated copper arsenate (CCA) treated radiata pine posts are becoming increasingly less acceptable in sustainable wine and food growing systems, because of problems with their disposal and potential ground contamination.

The vineyard industry currently breaks an estimated one million CCA-treated posts per year.

Other potential markets

Other potential markets for the very strong, durable timber include electricity cross-arms, railway sleepers, and structures such as bridges and marine wharves.

Marlborough research centre chief executive Gerald Hope, said in terms of their contribution to supporting sustainable grape-growing in Marlborough, durable locally grown timbers offer a huge benefit.

“Marlborough is confronted with the problem of how to dispose of many hundreds of thousands of broken CCA-treated posts.

“We also have large areas of East Coast hill country with relatively low rainfall where we see huge potential for farmers to diversify into growing selected dryland species.”

A key focus of NZDFI’s research and development to date has been to establish an extensive regional breeding trial network, and the development of novel techniques for rapid selection and propagation of high-performing genetic material.

“This will lead to the production of improved planting stock, with the first elite seedlings due for release in 2020,” Mr Hope said.

This work is being done by the NZDFI science team, including a large group of academics and researchers from University of Canterbury’s NZ School of Forestry (UC).

Professor Bruce Manley, who leads the research team at UC, said the team has now been recognised internationally as leading the way in a whole raft of research associated with breeding, growing, and processing durable eucalypts.

“The DFI research project includes seven of our academic staff as well as eight PhD students. It is exciting to be involved with such a collaborative and innovative project.”

Feedback sought

Feedback on the consultation paper is sought from all interested parties.

The outcomes of the consultation will include establishing a working group which will become active in implementing the regional plan. - NZDFI

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