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Forestry in the Bay of Plenty

Exotic forestry makes up about 16 percent of the land in our region. Most of this forestry is in large tracts like the Kāingaroa Plateau, but there are also many smaller woodlots and farm forestry blocks around the region.

Forestry can be an appropriate and profitable land use on many land use capability classes, particularly for steep and erosion-prone land. Landowners often find that converting difficult parts of their property, such as steep sidlings from pasture to trees, improves their overall productivity by allowing them to concentrate inputs on their better land.

While the main source of income from forestry is generally from harvesting logs, there are many other benefits from planting trees, including:

  • Carbon sequestration (removing carbon from the atmosphere)
  • Providing shelter
  • Stabilising slopes
  • Reducing nutrient losses
  • Suppressing weeds
  • Contributing to biodiversity

Some important factors to consider prior to planting include:

  • Overall reasons for afforestation (log harvest, shelter, carbon sequestration, amenity, biodiversity, erosion control)
  • Aspect, slope, soil type, elevation, size of block
  • Fencing or stock exclusion
  • Pest animal and pest plant control
  • Access for harvesting machinery if required

These will dictate species selection, establishment costs, the silvicultural regime and overall viability of the project. 

Our Land Management Officers are available to provide advice on planting forestry blocks, and grants may be available to assist with forestry establishment under a Riparian Management Plan.

For more information read the Riparian Management Plan Fact Sheet (444KB, pdf) or Land Management Factsheets are available on a range of forestry topics including some of the more commonly planted tree species.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry administers schemes that enable landowners to enter the carbon market, including options for permanent forestry and indigenous reversion.

Pines (chiefly Pinus radiata) are the most commonly planted trees however there are many other species, both exotic and native, to consider depending on the aims for the site.

The New Zealand Farm Forestry Association website has useful information and case studies of establishing trees on farms.

Tane's Tree Trust is an organisation promoting the successful planting and sustainable management of indigenous trees by landowners for multiple uses.

The Manuka and Kānuka Plantation Guide

There is a strong interest across New Zealand in growing Mānuka and Kānuka, and for the Rotorua catchment, it’s an appealing low nitrogen loss land use solution.

The Mānuka & Kānuka Plantation Guide is a tool that has been released through combined funding from several Regional Councils. It provides information on the plants themselves, honey production, oil production, environmental and agricultural benefits, establishing plantations and long term management.

Forest Harvesting

It is important that harvesting is well-planned and carried out to minimise erosion and downstream effects.

Poor tracking and slash management have the potential to allow large amounts of sediment and debris to enter waterways. 

The following guidelines should be followed for all forestry harvesting operations:

A resource consent may be required - see the Regional Water and Land Plan or contact a Consents Officer on the details below for advice.