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New Zealand Journal of Forestry (2008) 53(2): 17–19
©New Zealand Institute of Forestry

Professional Paper
The Reforest Trust: addressing the issues of carbon forestry in New Zealand

Howard B. Moore

In September 2007 the NZ Government introduced the Emissions Trading Scheme which regulates the creation, issuing and surrendering of NZ Emissions Units. Under the scheme, and for industries other than forestry, the Government will issue free Units to emitters while requiring them to surrender back annually a number of Units based on their level of GHG emissions. Allocations of free Units to industry are intended to fall linearly over 12 years (2018-2030) from 100% to 0% of starting emissions. This will create a rising cost pressure for emitters, who will either have to buy increasing numbers of Units to surrender, or improve their processes and technologies to reduce their emissions, or adopt a mixture of strategies. The government will issue Units to landowners for the growth of post-1989 forests after 1 January 2008. As an Emissions Unit is a tradable form of carbon credit, landowners may seek to plant forests to generate Units to sell. However this is a limited opportunity. Each forest will take up carbon only once, the available land for forestry is finite and the landowner is left with a liability for the issued Units. Other commercial barriers to carbon forestry include legal hurdles, the timeframe for growing forests, a paucity of information about suitable management regimes, levels of expected return and managing the investor-landowner relationship. Despite the problems businesses have been established to create carbon forests. A new business model is described for such a business in New Zealand, addressing land availability, legal agreements, security of the investor’s rights and returns to the landowner and investor.
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