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New Zealand Journal of Forestry (2018) 63(1): 2
©New Zealand Institute of Forestry

One billion trees

Chris Goulding

The new government has announced a target of planting one billion trees over the next 10 years. This ambitious target implies that approximately 100,000 ha would need to be planted every year. While, in round figures, half of that land would be existing forest that is being harvested and replanted, this is no less ambitious. The planting boom of the early 1990s was carried out by the small-scale forest owner and these stands will be available for harvest in the next decade. Whether they are replanted will depend on whether the landowner feels that the return on investment from trees on their land was satisfactory. Unlike the largescale owner, if log prices are not sufficient, risible net returns will mean that the landowner will most likely not bother to replant. About 50,000 ha per year of new land planting will be needed for the other half of the target. High log prices are also the key to meeting this target once the initial enthusiasm from the government wears off. The 1990s planting boom was the result of the spike in log prices and demonstrates that if log prices are high, new planting will boom.
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