Plantation forestry is a significant land-use activity and third largest primary sector in New Zealand. 4868 Plantation forestry can improve water quality, control erosion and is potentially the largest sink for mitigating greenhouse gases. 4554

In 2016, plantation forestry occupied about 1.7 million hectares or 6% of New Zealand and made a contribution of $3.55 billion to New Zealand's GDP (0.6%). 4191 5031 In 2015, plantation forestry exports were nearly $5 billion, accounting for around 2.9% of New Zealand's total goods exports. 5033 The sector is estimated to employ around 9,500 people in addition to many more jobs in industries that supply forestry for example, transport  and port service workers and wood processing. 5032  

 Pinus radiata is the main species utilised in New Zealand along with smaller amounts of Douglas fir, eucalyptus and other species. 4192  The main activities and effects associated with plantation forestry are described in the table below. 4193



Potential Effects

Mechanical Land Preparation

Mechanical Land Preparation is undertaken if required to address weed competition, slash deposits (from the prior forestry cycle), compacted soil and poor drainage to improve tree growth and reduce crop mortality, and to mitigate the risks of soil movement and sedimentation.

-  Erosion on steep land
-  Sedimentation
-  Indigenous vegetation disturbance
-  Reduces soil compaction
-  Targets drainage to safe areas
-  Improves continuing site productivity.


Planting is usually done manually, although mechanical tree planters may be used where site conditions permit.

Pruning and Thinning

Pruning and thinning are usually done manually. Pruning reduces the prevalence of knots in the wood. Thinning a crop reduces competition for sunlight, water and soil nutrients, allowing the remaining trees to grow more quickly. Pruned material (slash) is typically left on the ground for weed and erosion control.

-  Slash provides weed and erosion control 
-  Heavy rainfall may mobilise slash which can enter waterways causing hazards to infrastructure and scouring of waterways 


Harvesting involves felling trees, extracting them, processing them into logs, and loading the logs onto trucks for transportation. Clear felling (felling the entire stand of trees) is the most common type of harvesting in New Zealand.

-  Erosion
-  Sedimentation
-  Indigenous vegetation disturbance
-  Slash 


Earthworks are undertaken to construct and maintain access roads, processing areas, landings, firebreaks and river and stream crossings.

-  Erosion
-  Sedimentation
-  Indigenous vegetation disturbance
-  Targets drainage to safe areas
-  Facilitates harvest layout to reduce effects associated with log extraction

Warkworth Kauri Park (Credit: Raewyn Peart)



  3. and

  4. Vivid Economics Report, 2017






Last updated at 12:41PM on April 3, 2018