Scheme scru­ti­nised

South Waikato News - - RURAL DELIVERY -

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.

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