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New Zealand Journal of Forestry (2008) 53(3): 7–11
©New Zealand Institute of Forestry

Refereed article
An overview of fire management in New Zealand forestry

H. Grant Pearce 1, Geoff Cameron 2, Stuart A.J. Anderson 3 and Murray Dudfield 4

1 Scion, Rural Fire Research Group, Christchurch. email
2 Geoff Cameron & Associates, Registered Forestry Consultant, Wellington.
3 Scion, Rural Fire Research Group, Christchurch.
4 National Rural Fire Authority, Wellington.

Since exotic plantations were first established in New Zealand, fire protection has been an important consideration for forest managers. During the last 60-70 years, over 40,000 ha of exotic plantation forest has been burned. Developments in fire control legislation have generally followed disastrous wildfire events, and changes in plantation ownership have led to changes in forest management practices including fire protection. New Zealand forest managers continue to view fire protection as an essential part of management responsibilities, and outlay considerable expenditure on fire prevention and readiness activities. This paper presents a brief summary of the history of forest fire management in New Zealand, culminating in a recent survey of NZ Forest Owners Association members on forest fire management practices and expenditures. Survey results reinforce the key role forest owners play in rural fire management and provide insights into issues such as forest insurance and risk management strategies, as well as fire prevention activities and expenditure.
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