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Forestry harvest increases in past four years

Forestry harvest increases in past four years

Latest Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry estimates show that the New Zealand forest industry harvested a record 22.6 million cubic metres of logs in the year ended December 2002.

This compares with 15.3 million cubic metres for the 1998 calendar year – an increase of 48 percent in four years. Almost all of the additional seven million cubic metres of timber harvested were exported.

Most of the increase in harvesting has occurred in “new” forestry regions. In Northland the annual harvest has increased by one million cubic metres over the last four years from 0.6 million cubic metres in 1998 to 1.6 million cubic metres in 2002. In the combined Hawkes Bay/Gisborne regions, harvesting has increased from 1.1 million cubic metres in 1998 to 2.2 million cubic metres in 2002. During the same period in the South Island, harvesting has increased by 0.5 million cubic metres in the Nelson/Marlborough region between 1998 and 2002. A similar increase has occurred in the Otago and Southland region, with harvesting reaching 1.6 million cubic metres in 2002.

The Central North Island is the country’s largest timber-producing region, supplying over 50 percent of the national harvest. Harvesting in the Central North Island has remained relatively static over the last four years with around 10 million cubic metres of timber harvested annually.

Thirty-seven percent of the logs harvested are processed into sawn timber by New Zealand sawmills. Forty-two percent of this sawn timber was exported in the December 2002 year - the main export destinations being the USA, Australia, Japan and Taiwan.

Just over one-third of the harvest is exported as unprocessed logs, with Korea, China and Japan the main destinations.

Other components of the log harvest include pulp logs (16 percent) for pulp and paper production and small logs (seven percent) used mainly in fibreboard manufacture and for fence posts.

The bulk of the harvest (99.0 percent) comes from sustainably managed, planted production forests.

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