New Zealand Journal of Forestry (1998) 42(4): 13–16
©New Zealand Institute of Forestry
Sustainable management of private native forests in New Zealand: what's in it for the landowner?
The 1993 amendment to the Forests Act (1949) (hereinafter referred to as the Forests Act) requiring that private native forests be managed with minimum impact, with due regard to flora and fauna, natural and amenity values, and protected from a variety of threats, has caused us to expand our approach to forest management beyond the timber. We must now meet the challenge of harvesting our native forests and undertaking monitoring, silviculture and protective management to a standard rarely aspired to, or achieved, in the past.
The Forests Act has curtailed an historically opportunistic, exploitative approach to forest use, and while the changes have attracted a negative reaction from a number of landowners there are glimmerings of interest by many in the idea that they can have their cake and eat it too, albeit in smaller mouthfuls. They are facing up to change and approaching the challenges of managing, processing and marketing the traditionally abundant timber species, little used species of limited resource, and some, present as relatively large resources, but not previously favoured by the timber industry.
The future New Zealand native timber market will revolve around a relatively small but continuous supply of predominantly southern beeches (Nothofagus spp.), rimu (Dacrydium cupressinum), and broadleaved hardwood species such as tawa (Beilschmiedia tawa). Better timber utilisation and an upward shift in timber prices may in part, at least, compensate for the higher standards of forest management demanded by our society and reflected in the Forests Act