Search be­gins for small wood­lots

New Zealand Logger - - Harvest Tech 2017 -

A SEARCH IS ABOUT TO GET UN­DER way to dis­cover the lo­ca­tion of thou­sands of wood­lots scat­tered around New Zealand.

Cur­rently there is very lit­tle in­for­ma­tion about small scale for­est own­ers, and yet, they make up a sig­nif­i­cant pro­por­tion of the forestry com­ing up for har­vest in the next decade.

So, the Min­istry of Pri­mary In­dus­tries is look­ing to col­lect more in­for­ma­tion about small-scale forests in or­der to plan bet­ter for the ex­pected har­vest­ing vol­umes.

Stephen Mur­ray, Team Leader Data & Anal­y­sis, Pol­icy and Trade for MPI, told the Har­vest TECH 2017 con­fer­ence in Ro­torua last month that while data is col­lected an­nu­ally from cor­po­rate for­est own­ers and two-yearly for those with blocks be­tween 44 and 999 hectares, no in­for­ma­tion is gath­ered from own­ers of blocks un­der 44 hectares.

It is es­ti­mated that more than 10,000 in­di­vid­ual own­ers fall into the un­der-44ha cat­e­gory and Mr Mur­ray says it is very dif­fi­cult to find out who and where they are.

“We just don’t know much about them,” he says.

Most of the in­for­ma­tion that is cur­rently held about them comes from a sur­vey car­ried out in the mid-2000s, aug­mented by data based on tree plant­ings in the var­i­ous re­gions.

“But we are not 100% con­fi­dent about that in­for­ma­tion, es­pe­cially where those forests are lo­cated,” he says.

“We need to know where they are, so we can be bet­ter in­formed about things like road­ing.”

Cur­rent es­ti­mates in­di­cate that small forestry blocks un­der 44 hectares make up a to­tal of around 218,000 hectares. Large chunks are in the cen­tral and lower North Is­land, North­land and lower South Is­land.

Mr Mur­ray says MPI is about to launch a new spa­tial forestry map­ping pro­gramme aimed at get­ting more pre­cise in­for­ma­tion about where all plan­ta­tions, large and small, are lo­cated. This will be cross-ref­er­enced with in­for­ma­tion from the NZ For­est Grow­ers As­so­ci­a­tion, which rep­re­sents large cor­po­rate own­ers, and the NZ Farm Forestry As­so­ci­a­tion. It will in­di­cate where gaps ex­ist.

The Min­istry’s data sys­tem has not been sta­ble enough for this ex­er­cise to be car­ried out un­til it was re­cently up­graded.

“Hav­ing got the sys­tem sorted, the goal now is to col­lect all this spa­tial in­for­ma­tion so we can see where these forests are and build a much more ac­cu­rate map of forestry in New Zealand,” Mr Mur­ray adds.


This graph, taken from an MPI re­port, is a sim­plis­tic view of the amount of wood com­ing from small-scale forests in the com­ing years – it is un­likely to spike like that, but will prob­a­bly spread over more years

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