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Planted forests take centre stage

Planted forests take centre stage as part of United Nations Forum on Forests

International forest experts will gather in Wellington next week (25-27 March) for a meeting about the role of planted forests in sustainable forest management.

This is only the second such international meeting on this specific topic, and New Zealand has taken a leading role both times. It is being held under the umbrella of UN processes to address global deforestation and establish principles for a consensus on the management, conservation and sustainable development of the world’s forests and related resources. The meeting is being hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF).

“New Zealand’s success with planted forests and long history of forest management means we are well placed to promote the benefits this approach has to creating a balanced use of all types of forests,” says Don Wijewardana, MAF Policy team leader. Mr Wijewardana is responsible for international policy on forestry and has more than 20 years of forestry experience, having worked as Chief Economist in the NZ Forest Service and later the Ministry of Forestry.

The 2003 meeting will bring up to 120 people together from around the world. It begins with a visit to Rotorua, New Zealand’s planted forestry heartland and centre of forest research, before Prime Minister Helen Clark opens the meeting in Wellington.

New Zealand organisations with an interest in forestry will have a ringside seat at the meeting, and keynote speakers are being provided by the NZ Forest Industries Council, Greenpeace, Carter Holt Harvey and the NZ Ecological Foundation. The meeting’s steering committee includes representatives from the NZ Forest Owners Association, the NZ Farm Forestry Association, Canterbury University, Forest Research, the Federation of Maori Authorities and World Wildlife Fund.

A full programme for the UN Forum on Forests experts meeting is available at http:// http://www.maf.govt.nz/mafnet/unn-planted-forestry-meeting A report and recommendations from the meeting will be taken to the UN Forum on Forest in Switzerland in May.

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