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New report paints picture of planted forests

11 February 2002 - For Immediate Release

New report paints picture of New Zealand's planted production forests

A recently published Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry report shows New Zealand's planted production forests covered 1.80 million hectares as at April 2001.

The Central North Island has 577,000 hectares of planted forests - 32 percent of the national forest area.

The forests in the Central North Island region are also the country's most mature, currently producing 52 percent of New Zealand's wood supply. Other regions with significant areas of maturing forest are located in Northland, Gisborne, Hawkes Bay, Southern North Island, Nelson & Marlborough and Otago & Southland.

New Zealand's production forests are dominated by radiata pine, which makes up 1.61 million hectares, or 89 percent of the area.

About 67 percent of the radiata pine planted forest estate is, or is expected to be, pruned. The area of pruned radiata pine approaching harvestable age is increasing. Currently around one million hectares of the pruned radiata pine estate is 25 years old or younger. Approximately 167,000 ha of pruned radiata pine is between 21 and 25 years old, while 79,000 hectares of pruned radiata pine is older than 25 years.

Over the last two years, the rate of new planting has declined below the long-term average rate. The area of new planting in 2000 was 33,600 hectares and it is provisionally estimated that 31,600 hectares were planted in 2001. The average new planting rate over the last 30 years has been 45,200 hectares per year.

Between 1992 and 1998, New Zealand experienced high afforestation rates. During these six years, planting rates averaged 69,000 hectares per year.

In addition to new planting, 35,700 hectares of harvested area was replanted in 2000, making total planting 69,300 hectares. The area of restocking is expected to continue to increase in line with forecast increases in future harvesting.

ENDS

Full details on New Zealand's planted forests are available in A National Exotic Forest Description as at 1 April 2001, on: www.maf.govt.nz/statistics/primaryindustries/forestry/forest-resources/nat ional-exotic-forest-2001/index.htm

For further information contact Judith Dennis, Senior Analyst, Statistical Information, MAF Policy ph. 04 498-9825

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