ONE of the biggest potential influences in forestry’s future is the carbon credit regime. It aims to slow down deforestation by giving foresters credits for their trees and demanding credits back if they harvest without replanting.
Some foresters are reported to have sold their credits for a lucrative sum.
But at the moment, things are in limbo.
Carbon prices have plummeted, due partly to the global downturn and to cheap credits from overseas driving down the price here.
New Zealand is committed to reducing its net greenhouse emissions to 1990 levels by this year, so the Government is looking hard at how well the Emissions Trading Scheme is working.
An announcement is due soon and forestry bodies hope it will address the price issue.
‘‘Forestry is going to be a key part of New Zealand meeting its targets, so that means you’ve got to get the Emissions Trading Scheme right so that it sufficiently encourages new planting,’’ Forest Owners Association chief executive David Rhodes said.
The scheme puts forests into two camps. Owners of exotic forests established before 1990 are liable for the tax but have been compensated with a one-off payment of credits they can sell but they may have to buy credits back at harvest.
Those with newer forests do not need to join the scheme but about 50 per cent of them have, giving them credits for every year of growth.