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NZ's position robust on Kyoto Protocol forest sink

Contrary to an NZPA report today, New Zealand's claims for forest sink credits under the Kyoto Protocol are not "partly rooted in a scientific fallacy," says the Convenor of the Ministerial Group on Climate Change, Pete Hodgson.

"NZPA's story today suggesting that New Zealand's position in respect of forest sinks is challenged by some Italian research on greenhouse gas releases from soil is incorrect," Mr Hodgson said.

"New Zealand's forests, silviculture and soils are significantly different to Europe's. The research quoted by NZPA may be relevant to European conditions but is most unlikely to have any bearing on New Zealand forestry or New Zealand's allocation of forest sink credits under the Kyoto Protocol.

"New forest plantings in New Zealand are predominantly on marginal farmland and do not involve extensive cultivation of high-carbon soils, which is the focus of the Italian research. Measurements of soil carbon changes relating to new forest plantings in New Zealand have shown very little change in total soil carbon levels.

"New Zealand will be claiming credits under the Protocol for new forests planted after 1990. We will do so in accordance with good practice guidelines being developed by the UN for accounting for carbon changes in forests, cropland and grassland. New Zealand has done its homework and our position is robust."

Mr Hodgson is in Washington DC for meetings with US government officials and non-governmental groups on climate change issues.

ENDS

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