FOR­EST TALK

New Zealand Logger - - Contents -

New Forestry Ser­vice of­fi­cially launched; Jones gets help with forestry job; more scru­tiny on safety is com­ing; South Is­land foresters more op­ti­mistic; ‘fees-free’ ap­pren­tice­ships to boost forestry; West Coast log­ging plan ve­toed; how the NES is af­fect­ing forestry; safety man joins Com­pe­tenz board; forestry prose­cu­tions a timely warn­ing; South­ern North Is­land cel­e­brates top foresters; Nel­son coun­cil re­tires forestry block to clean rivers; tool for tree plant­ing po­ten­tial on Taranaki farms; new CEO for East­land Wood Coun­cil; Scion launches in­no­va­tion hub.

FORESTERS SHOULDN’T FEEL SO SMUG ABOUT THE SUG­GES­TION BY En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter, David Parker, for a cap to be placed on the num­ber of dairy cows in or­der to im­prove the health of our streams and rivers. Forestry could be tar­geted for sim­i­lar ac­tion soon.

Don’t be­lieve it?

A decision last month by Nel­son City Coun­cil to re­tire one-fifth of its own plan­ta­tion forests as a re­sult of crit­i­cism over sed­i­ment clog­ging a lo­cal river may just be the tip of the ice­berg.

Just be­cause we worked with law­mak­ers to cre­ate the Na­tional En­vi­ron­men­tal Stan­dards for Plan­ta­tion Forestry (NES), doesn’t mean that we can rest on our lau­rels. If any­thing, the NES is go­ing to be used as a means to hold forestry to a much higher level of en­vi­ron­men­tal responsibility than ever be­fore. Pos­si­bly high enough to force plan­ta­tion pines off some slopes.

It shouldn’t come as a sur­prise to the wise among us. The warn­ing signs have been there to see in places like Gis­borne, the South Is­land’s West Coast, parts of the Manawatu and Wairarapa, and, of course, Nel­son and Marlborough.

Har­vest­ing ac­tiv­i­ties in plan­ta­tion forests es­tab­lished in those re­gions have been blamed for caus­ing slips, land degra­da­tion, flash flood­ing, block­ing wa­ter cour­ses and loss of habi­tat for aquatic life through sed­i­men­ta­tion of river and sea beds – re­gard­less of whether it is only one of a num­ber of causes, or would have hap­pened any­way, even if the land was cov­ered by na­tives or grass.

While the NES has in­tro­duced a na­tion­wide stan­dard for plan­ta­tion forestry ac­tiv­i­ties in place of the hotch-potch of coun­cil rules, it has also tight­ened the re­quire­ments for for­est own­ers/man­agers and con­trac­tors to lift their game.

Most are do­ing just that – al­though there are still some who flout their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, as il­lus­trated by the re­cent pros­e­cu­tion in the Bay of Plenty for en­vi­ron­men­tal dam­age caused by har­vest­ing op­er­a­tions.

It is likely that coun­cils will seek to use the NES to tighten the re­quire­ments around estab­lish­ing a for­est and the sub­se­quent har­vest­ing op­er­a­tions.

We are likely to see in­creased buf­fer zones be­tween the for­est edge and rivers; im­proved drainage and stop bank de­sign; re­duced land­ing/skid/road­ing foot­print; and more pres­sure for highly sen­si­tive land to be con­verted from grow­ing plan­ta­tion pines to be­come per­ma­nent forests.

There’s al­ready wide recog­ni­tion among for­est own­ers, man­agers and con­trac­tors that some places weren’t meant for pines. But there is po­ten­tial for more vo­cal op­po­nents of forestry to call for a wide­spread plan­ta­tion ban.

We can only hope that the en­vi­ron­men­tal zealots that ap­pear to have the ear of the Labour-led gov­ern­ment, don’t use the NES as an ex­cuse to se­ri­ously limit where and what trees we can plant.

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