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Forestry Institute supports Greens policies

New Zealand Institute of Forestry (NZIF)
Te Pûtahi Ngâherehere o Aotearoa Inc.

March 28, 2006

Forestry Institute supports Greens policies on climate change

The New Zealand Institute of Forestry has also come out in support of the Green Party policy on Climate Change saying that increased carbon storage is one of the issues they have been promoting for some time.

NZIF’s Dr Andrew McEwen says the proposals made in “Turn Down the Heat” make sense and echo similar message they have made in relation to forestry and climate change, particularly in the lead-up to their annual conference which this year will highlight the non-wood benefits of forests, such as carbon storage.

“At our conference we will be discussing the need for good forest governance because this is the way that New Zealand can contribute most to reducing the damage being done to the world’s environment and economy. Overall, not enough importance is being placed on the value of forests in combating climate change.”

One of the NZIF speakers has also spoken at the Climate Change Conference being held in Wellington this week. David Whitehead, presented a paper at the climate change conference yesterday on the role of forests in climate change mitigation.

“David will also be talking on the science of carbon and forests at our conference. He will be joined by Nick O’Brien from Australian company New Forests PTY to discuss the Australian approach to trading in forest carbon – something that has yet to happen in New Zealand.”

Dr McEwen said events over the past few days have shown just how relevant the NZIF Conference will be.

“During a public meeting on climate change on Monday night Dr Jim Salanger of NIWA described how climate change will increase high intensity rainfall on the west coast of New Zealand, including the Wangaui and Manwatu region that were badly hit by flooding in February 2004. The positive role of forests in mitigating such things as soil erosion, improving water quality and reducing the impact of floods will be the first of six special topics on the benefits of forests that our conference will cover.”

He says the conference will also consider the need to arrest the current rate of deforestation in New Zealand and encourage increased afforestation, particularly on steep land where soil and water values will be enhanced. This is in line with what the Green party policy is advocating along with requiring carbon offsets and resource consents for increases in stock numbers or conversion of land to pasture.

Dr McEwen says these measures will help to level the playing field in favour of forestry rather than continue the penalties that forestry has suffered in recent years.

The NZIF Conference will be held at Te Papa from April 20-23. Other sessions the conference will cover include discuss the role of forests in landscape, culture and recreation, the role of forests in biodiversity, and the production of biomaterials and bioenergy from sustainably grown forest products.

ENDS

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