Research article Diversification and opportunities in forestry in the South Island high country.
N. J. Ledgard and M. C. Belton
A survey of exotic trees in the Canterbury high country has identified an unexploited forestry potential. Five conifers are suited for forestry development in parts of the high country: Douglas fir (Pseudotuga menziesii), Corsican pine (Pinus nigra), radiata pine (P. radiata), ponderosa pine (P. ponderosa), and European larch (Larix decidua). Exotic trees currently occupy less than 0.1% of the region's 1.8 m ha. Growth rates are largely determined by the sleep east-west rainfall gradient, and in the moist region they are high by any standard. The possible scale of any forestry development, and points for and against high country forestry are discussed. A case is presented for promotion of a roundwood industry, mainly for poles, using Corsican pine and Douglas fir. Markets are discussed. It is concluded that forestry is a viable land use option for the South Island high country. (no keywords)
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