'We need more trees'

Forestry contributes most to regional GDP in Gisborne of all regions.

Forestry contributes most to regional GDP in Gisborne of all regions.

AGRICULTURE needs to reduce its stock numbers and increase its forest cover, New Zealand Forest Owners’ Association president Peter Clark said last night at a presentation about forestry opportunities and advantages.

Climate change and a call for carbon neutrality in New Zealand, as well as forestry’s significant contribution to the country’s GDP, were key points in Mr Clark’s talk at the Growing Your Future presentation.

“We need more trees,” he said.

Deforestation of 100,000 hectares over the past 20 years, mostly to make way for more dairy cows, and low levels of new planting, had frustrated people in the forestry industry.

“The forestry sector is a major export earner and employer in New Zealand but within the sector we have been frustrated by the lack of understanding of the contribution it makes to our GDP.”

Of all regions, forestry contributed most to the regional GDP in Gisborne. Despite investment in the industry, such as Eastland Port’s ongoing upgrades funded by forestry exports, forestry industry leaders were not able to give confidence to the processing industry to develop without providing certainty of supply of the raw material, he said.

“We need a modern and sophisticated timber processing industry.”

Forestry also made a vital contribution to the country’s environment, particularly in terms of soil and water protection, biodiversity and recreational use.

Non-monetary benefits

Commissioned by the New Zealand Forest Owners’ Association and New Zealand Farm Forestry Association, a New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) report suggested non-monetary benefits from forestry “could well exceed financial outputs from commercial forests”.

In this region, forestry played an important role in stabilising hills and reducing the amount of material that washed into river and stream beds.

“Trees have been replaced by dairy cows, which have compromised water quality,” he said.

As a building material, timber had good earthquake resistance compared with the limitations of steel and concrete.

The Kaikoura earthquake was a wake-up call, he said.

Constructed from New Zealand-produced laminated timber, the new Kaikoura District Council building was not damaged by the quake and was used by emergency services as their headquarters.

New Zealand was a laggard when it came to using engineered timber in commercial and multi-storey residential structures.

“Timber is light. It locks up carbon. It is easy and quick to assemble, using the latest technology. It can be built a number of storeys high without compromising its safety.

“The Rotorua Lakes Council is actively promoting timber for commercial buildings. They get it.”

AGRICULTURE needs to reduce its stock numbers and increase its forest cover, New Zealand Forest Owners’ Association president Peter Clark said last night at a presentation about forestry opportunities and advantages.

Climate change and a call for carbon neutrality in New Zealand, as well as forestry’s significant contribution to the country’s GDP, were key points in Mr Clark’s talk at the Growing Your Future presentation.

“We need more trees,” he said.

Deforestation of 100,000 hectares over the past 20 years, mostly to make way for more dairy cows, and low levels of new planting, had frustrated people in the forestry industry.

“The forestry sector is a major export earner and employer in New Zealand but within the sector we have been frustrated by the lack of understanding of the contribution it makes to our GDP.”

Of all regions, forestry contributed most to the regional GDP in Gisborne. Despite investment in the industry, such as Eastland Port’s ongoing upgrades funded by forestry exports, forestry industry leaders were not able to give confidence to the processing industry to develop without providing certainty of supply of the raw material, he said.

“We need a modern and sophisticated timber processing industry.”

Forestry also made a vital contribution to the country’s environment, particularly in terms of soil and water protection, biodiversity and recreational use.

Non-monetary benefits

Commissioned by the New Zealand Forest Owners’ Association and New Zealand Farm Forestry Association, a New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) report suggested non-monetary benefits from forestry “could well exceed financial outputs from commercial forests”.

In this region, forestry played an important role in stabilising hills and reducing the amount of material that washed into river and stream beds.

“Trees have been replaced by dairy cows, which have compromised water quality,” he said.

As a building material, timber had good earthquake resistance compared with the limitations of steel and concrete.

The Kaikoura earthquake was a wake-up call, he said.

Constructed from New Zealand-produced laminated timber, the new Kaikoura District Council building was not damaged by the quake and was used by emergency services as their headquarters.

New Zealand was a laggard when it came to using engineered timber in commercial and multi-storey residential structures.

“Timber is light. It locks up carbon. It is easy and quick to assemble, using the latest technology. It can be built a number of storeys high without compromising its safety.

“The Rotorua Lakes Council is actively promoting timber for commercial buildings. They get it.”

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