Forest owners support changes to erosion control scheme

1 August 2014

The Forest Owners Association welcomes government changes to the scheme that funds erosion control initiatives on the East Coast.

"Forestry and allowing reversion to native cover are both effective at reducing the dramatic soil erosion that can occur on East Coast hill country. Making it easier for land owners to access funding and removing unnecessary red tape should result in greater involvement in the scheme," says chief executive David Rhodes.

"When topsoil flows down rivers and out to sea it represents a huge loss of potential regional productivity and wealth. Planting with radiata pines over many decades has greatly reduced this soil erosion as well as downstream flooding.

"Many of the trees that were planted 30-40 years ago have now reached maturity and their harvest has brought jobs and increased prosperity to the region."

He says in the early days pines were often blanket planted by the government from the stream edges to the steep ridge lines without regard to the practicality or environmental implications of eventual harvest.

"Private forest owners no longer do this, but they may have legacy forests with trees that need to be harvested from these areas when they reach maturity.

"With manuka honey now a viable crop in many areas, a mix of plantation forestry, reversion to native cover and pole planted pasture all have a place in most hill country catchments on the East Coast."

 Information about the changes can be found at http://mpi.govt.nz/environment-natural-resources/funding-programmes/erosion-control-funding-programme-ecfp

Trevor Walton
FOA communications
Tel 021 381 465