How reliant on China? Plan B?

LETTER

I have hesitated for some time before putting pen to paper on a subject I know very little about, but have been at last prompted by Wayne Rickard’s recent letter expressing concern about the future “recoverable volume” of pine in this area. I was even more concerned by Eastland Wood Council’s response.

In the lengthy article published on March 2 there was reassurance about the availability of wood from both large and small scale forest owners over the next 30 years, and the prospects for employment associated with its harvesting, with a confident prediction that the industry will remain a significant part of the community for years to come — but not a mention of the future markets for this wood. It seems to be assumed that if we grow it we can sell it!

A while ago, in the “Focus on the Land” section of this paper, I read that China has been planting large quantities of trees for a very long time, and that this wood will soon become harvestable. Could it be possible that the bottom is about to fall out of this market? How reliant are we on China continuing to buy our logs? Can EWC confidently predict the size of the market for the next 30 years? Do we have a Plan B?

Alongside all this, Eastland Port is intending to spend $80m to develop a second logship berth. If they do that, will it still be needed? Are they basing this plan on what EWC is telling them? Could the money be better spent?

Lots of questions; any answers?

Peter Wooding

I have hesitated for some time before putting pen to paper on a subject I know very little about, but have been at last prompted by Wayne Rickard’s recent letter expressing concern about the future “recoverable volume” of pine in this area. I was even more concerned by Eastland Wood Council’s response.

In the lengthy article published on March 2 there was reassurance about the availability of wood from both large and small scale forest owners over the next 30 years, and the prospects for employment associated with its harvesting, with a confident prediction that the industry will remain a significant part of the community for years to come — but not a mention of the future markets for this wood. It seems to be assumed that if we grow it we can sell it!

A while ago, in the “Focus on the Land” section of this paper, I read that China has been planting large quantities of trees for a very long time, and that this wood will soon become harvestable. Could it be possible that the bottom is about to fall out of this market? How reliant are we on China continuing to buy our logs? Can EWC confidently predict the size of the market for the next 30 years? Do we have a Plan B?

Alongside all this, Eastland Port is intending to spend $80m to develop a second logship berth. If they do that, will it still be needed? Are they basing this plan on what EWC is telling them? Could the money be better spent?

Lots of questions; any answers?

Peter Wooding

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Zeynep Simpson - 10 days ago
China is the world's largest producer of rice, they are also the No.1 buyer of rice. So them planting millions of trees doesn't necessarily mean that they won't buy more logs. But in the future, the real forestry money will be in climate action plans or Emissions Trading Schemes (ETS). The Paris climate agreement contains explicit provision for countries to meet their emission targets (NDCs) by co-operating in cross-border carbon markets, through a common cap-and-trade programme or carbon tax. (New Zealand is identified as having bought fraudulent carbon credits from Ukraine and Russia, but I assume this will change when the market is better regulated.)