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Forestry Planting Rates ¨C 2004 (Provisional)

18 February 2005

Forestry Planting Rates ¨C 2004 (Provisional)


This report provides provisional estimates of the areas of new planting and replanting for 2004, and information on the quantity and nature of seedlings sold during the year.

New Planting and Replanting

The area of new forest land planted in the winter of 2004 is provisionally estimated to be 10 600 hectares. Replanting of harvested areas was approximately 40 600 hectares. The area of new planting reveals another significant decrease compared to the provisional estimate of new planting in 2003 (see Table 1).

Table 1: New Planting and Replanting 2003 & 2004
New Planting (hectares) Replanting (hectares)
2003p 2004p 2003p 2004p
Radiata pine 7 700 4 200 42 400 39 800
Douglas-fir 5 400 3 800 500 500
Other exotic softwoods 900 700 200 200
All exotic hardwoods 900 1 900 100 100
TOTAL 14 900* 10 600 43 200 40 600
p = provisional * = this figure will be revised in association with the annual NEFD update

The provisional 2004 estimates of new planting by species groups are derived from a Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) survey conducted in November 2004 of seedling sales from major forestry tree nurseries. From this information estimates of the total areas of planting (new planting plus replanting of harvested land) by species groups are made. The areas of replanting are provisionally estimated from information on the volume of timber harvested in the previous 12 months. Estimates of new planting by species groups are the residual values i.e. total planting minus replanting equals new planting.

These provisional estimates will be reviewed and potentially revised in 12 months time on the basis of actual replanting information provided by forest owners in the annual National Exotic Forest Description (NEFD) update.

New planting levels have trended downward during the past ten years from a record high of 98 000 hectares in 1994 (see Graph 1).

Replanting has increased over time in line with increasing volumes of wood being harvested (see Graph 1). This trend stopped in 2004 with a small decrease in the estimated area of replanting. p = provisional

Changes to Modelling Assumptions (Stocking Rates & Deforestation)

An independent review of the MAF¡¯s processes for surveying nurseries and estimating planting rates was undertaken in 2003. This concluded that the processes were sound, but some assumptions, principally concerning stocking rates, should be regularly reviewed to ensure they reflect the current situation.

Accordingly, MAF undertook a stocking rate survey in October 2004. Stocking rates used in the 2003 modelling were revised for 2004, and the changes have acted to lower the estimated area of total planting.

A long-standing modelling assumption has been that 2 percent of the area harvested is not replanted. Anecdotal and limited quantitative information suggested that this also needed revision. In the 2004 modelling it is assumed that 5 percent of the harvested area is not replanted. However, it is important to note that the selection of 5 percent is an assumption for the purposes of estimating planting rates and not an estimate of a likely deforestation rate.

Radiata Pine and GF Rating

Levels of genetic improvement through selective tree breeding in the new radiata pine crop have improved significantly over recent years, but for 2004 have remained similar to 2003. Tree stocks with a Growth and Form (GF) rating of 20 or more make up 68 percent of the total area of radiata pine planting (see Table 2).

Table 2: Percentage of Total Area of Radiata Pine Planting by GF Rating
Radiata pine GF Rating 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004p
Seedlings ¡Ü GF 19 66 59 47 43 46 38 36 31 32
Seedlings / cuttings ¡Ý GF 20 34 41 53 57 54 62 64 69 68
p = provisional

Sale of Tree Stocks

The total tree stock sold during 2004 (54.2 million seedlings and cuttings) is 8 percent lower than during 2003 (58.7 million). This decrease in tree stock sold, coupled with the revised stocking rates, results in a 12 percent decrease in the estimated area of total planting in 2004 compared to 2003.

Table 3: Tree Stock Sales (millions)
1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004p
Radiata pine 99.5 76.8 64.8 53.1 56.5 55.8 50.2 47.4 43.5
Douglas-fir 8.3 11.7 14.1 14.0 11.3 6.8 7.8 8.8 7.2
Other softwoods 1.7 2.2 2.2 2.8 2.0 1.9 1.4 1.3 1.2
All hardwoods 5.1 6.2 5.6 3.6 1.8 1.7 2.4 1.2 2.3
TOTAL 114.6 96.9 86.7 73.5 71.6 66.2 61.8 58.7 54.2
p = provisional

Otago / Southland remains the dominant Douglas-fir region, producing 72 percent of the planting stock.

The significant increase in the sale of hardwood seedlings arises primarily in the Central North Island, Hawkes Bay, and to a lesser degree in the northern South Island. Some of these seedlings may be used for shelter, rather than timber production, as the principal objective.

Acknowledgement of Assistance from the Forest Industry

MAF wishes to express its thanks to all the nursery managers who supplied information on the sales of tree stocks during 2004 that enables these estimates of planting rates to be made.

MAF also wishes to thank the forest owners, managers, consultants and contractors who supplied information on stocking rates for 2004. This has enabled the revision of modelling assumptions.

Importance of Planting Rate Estimates

Estimates of planting rates are important components of New Zealand¡¯s forestry statistics, and are key indicators of investment in planted forests.


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