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New Zealand Institute of Forestry Annual Conf.

MEDIA ADVISORY – ALL EDITORS / CHIEF REPORTERS

New Zealand Institute of Forestry – Absolutely Positively Forests
Annual conference of the NZIF for 2006 discussing and debating the non-wood benefits of forests

Thursday, 20 April to Sunday 23 April at Te Papa, Wellington

The conference is to be opened by Jeanette Fitzsimons, co-leader of the Green Party with keynote address by Dr Morgan Williams, Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.

CONFERENCE OVERVIEW
Forests provide soil and water conservation, biodiversity and wildlife habitat, carbon sequestration, fuel, chemicals, timber and paper, landscape and recreation values. Studies have shown that forests are essential to the survival of civilisations, but as a land use, forests as under pressure around the world. This conference will debate the many values of forests, and determine how we can improve the way that forest values are delivered in New Zealand. It will bring together NZIF members, forest owners and managers, farm foresters, scientists, policy makers, NGO members, conservationists and the public. It will highlight the richness of forests, the options forest managers have to offer particular environmental services, and the ways in which they can be encouraged.


WHAT IS BEING SAID ABOUT THIS CONFERENCE:
David Rhodes, Chief Executive, NZ Forest Owners Association:
The focus on non-traditional values delivered by forests could not be more topical. The growing international awareness of climate change impacts, and the role played by forests in mitigating this challenge is a highly visible example of the need to recognise such value. Carbon sequestration is, however, just a precursor to establishing similar recognition and reward for a host of other products that forests are either delivering, or capable of delivering in a sustainable and renewable way. The implications for forest management are significant.

Chris Karamea Insley, Managing Director, Ngati Porou Whanui Forests:
For me the conference is important because, today the industry faces a number of strategic challenges that are different from the past: long-standing exposure to volatile economic drivers; changing global attitudes towards the role forestry may play in sustainability (Kyoto); a new government arrangement challenged on how to develop and pass enabling legislation; and an industry facing continuous change in the ownership of its key assets including the new role that Maori will play in future. Given these fundamental changes, the way the industry has been managed and lead in the past, will simply not be good enough to secure a competitive position in what will be a fast-changing future. The last decade has seen almost fanatical focus on stripping out cost from the value, with very little emphasis placed on the value side of the balance sheet. I hope the conference can act as a catalyst to canvassing these issues and, importantly, on focusing energy and resources to developing real and smart solutions.

Dr Russ Ballard, Chairman, Scion:
The New Zealand forestry sector is facing a crisis. Net forest plantings have collapsed as have returns from our basic commodity products in the fact of transportation costs and better marketed products. In large part this crisis is of our own making. There is an urgent need to address the fundamental societal values and Government administrative frameworks which prevent forest owners from benefiting from the real value of their forests to the economy and society. This is best done in forums where open debate occurs, the key decision makers are present and collective action plans can be formulated. The NZIF conference provides just this opportunity.

ENDS

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