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New Zealand Journal of Forestry (2019) 64(1): 2
©New Zealand Institute of Forestry

Social licence to operate

Chris Goulding

Several papers in this May 2019 issue are in response to the Government’s ‘one billion tree’ proposal, discussing the forest sector’s licence to operate, interaction with Maori landowners, and the perception of the industry by the media and general public. The proposal has received a large amount of publicity and comments, some very positive from the production forest sector, imagining large areas of new planting and a consequent increase in the long-term sustainable harvest. There has also been negative pushback, with doom-laden predictions of forests of pine blanketing the landscape, loss of rural communities, and more catastrophes with clear-felling and logging slash. One billion trees sounds a lot, even over a decade. When written as 1,000,000,000 it reads even bigger. If all of the trees were used for production forest afforestation, and the new planting was assumed to occur at 1,100 trees/ha, then this would imply just over 900,000 ha added to the existing national forest estate after 10 years, indeed a very significant increase. With another assumption that forest productivity increases to 25 m3/ha/year due to the recent increases in final crop stocking, and to tree improvement from breeding, this one billion trees would increase the national longterm sustainable yield by between 22 and 23 million m3 (or tonnes) per year.
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