New Zealand Journal of Forestry (1995) 40(2): 4–9
©New Zealand Institute of Forestry
Alternative species revisited: catergorisation and issues for strategy and research
R.D. Burdon and J.T. Miller
For the issue of alternative species to Pinus radiata in New Zealand to be addressed satisfactorily, the various purposes that such species might serve must be properly defined. Accordingly, three main categories of plantation-forestry species are proposed, on the basis of their purposes: (1) Special-purpose species, to occupy utilisation niches for which P. radiata is not well suited; these cover a spectrum ranging from very high-value timbers to fuelwood or special-purpose industrial wood such as short-fibre pulpwood; (2) Extreme-site species, which can perform satisfactorily on sites that are unsuitable for P. radiata; and (3) Contingency species, which might replace P. radiata should it encounter serious problems within its existing range. Various species of interest are reviewed briefly in relation to this categorisation, to illustrate the conceptual approach, rather than to attempt full or definitive coverage. Some species belong in more than one category, notably Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) in all three. Disturbingly, there appear to be large areas particularly in the north of the country for which the first-choice contingency species are not clearly identified, let alone adequately researched or preparations made for their being needed. In some 'extreme-site' species appropriate provenances for such sites remain unconfirmed.