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Timberlands' future in exotic forestry

30 May 2001 Media Statement

Timberlands' future in exotic forestry

Timberlands West Coast remains a financially viable exotic plantation forestry company without the indigenous forest lands being transferred to the Department of Conservation, says Forestry Minister Pete Hodgson.

"Exotic plantation management has always been Timberlands' core business," Mr Hodgson said. "Pine volumes, which are increasing, have typically been about five times the volume of indigenous timber produced and pine production has generated most of the jobs in the West Coast forestry industry."

Timberlands current rimu logging is down to about 10,000 cubic metres a year following the end of unsustainable 'overcut' logging in the Buller region late last year. Its remaining indigenous forestry operations, predominantly in the South Westland forests of Okarito and Saltwater, are due to end by March 31 next year.

Timberlands' exotic timber production is increasing by about 30,000 cubic metres a year. It expects to produce 220,000 cubic metres in the current year and reach a sustainable 290,000 cubic metres a year by 2003.

"Consultation with the Timberlands board last year on on bringing rimu logging to an end confirmed that the company would be financially viable without indigenous logging," Mr Hodgson said.

"The company is now focussed on maximising the value of its exotic plantings, which cover about 28,000 hectares."

Mr Hodgson said he was personally very pleased to see Timberlands' indigenous forests being transferred to the Department of Conservation.

"The Government, as the owner of these forests on behalf of all New Zealanders, has accepted its responsibility to protect prime remnants of lowland indigenous forest. New Zealand does not need to log these forests."


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