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Increased supply forecast for NZ’s wood basket

23 May 2008

Increased supply forecast for the country’s wood basket

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) has just released new wood availability forecasts for the Central North Island that indicate a steady increase in supply for the region over the next 12 years.

Between 2008 and 2016 there is a projected increase in the Central North Island regional availability from 7.5 million cubic metres to around 10.2 million cubic metres per year.

After 2016, increases in wood availability are expected to result in increased log supply with the potential for significant volume increases to around 12.7 million cubic metres per year after 2020.

“The new forecasts will assist with future planning by both the forest industry and those agencies charged with ensuring the country’s infrastructure is appropriate,” says Gerard Horgan, Senior Analyst with MAF Policy in Rotorua.

“There are growing markets for wood and wood energy products, and according to the forecasts, the sector is well placed to supply for both its own energy and some of the needs of other sectors too. There is also opportunity for investment in expanding the capacity of existing mills and in building new mills,” says Horgan.

Because of the relatively benign environmental impact of plantation wood products, the medium term outlook for the sector and the products it supplies is quite positive, he adds.

The forecasts also incorporate the views of the region’s forest managers and consultants.

“The detailed input from forest owners gives these forecasts an excellent foundation,” says Theo Vos, Consulting Manager with PF Olsen Limited in Rotorua.

Horgan says industry feedback was critical to ensure the forecasts represent a realistic range of future wood availability scenarios.

“The forecasts indicate that there are many different ways the forest estate may be harvested. Ultimately harvest levels in any year are driven by market conditions and the objectives of individual forest owners.”

MAF, in association with the major growers and processors in the region, is currently finalising a report on the Central North Island Forestry Industry. The report will contain these wood availability forecasts along with descriptions of the region’s forests, wood processing industries and infrastructure. This report will also describe the opportunities and constraints facing the forest industry in the Central North Island, and is expected to be published by October 2008.

The Central North Island is the largest forestry region in New Zealand. It is estimated that around 8 million cubic metres was harvested in the region for the year ended 31 March 2007. This is around 40 percent of the total New Zealand harvest for the year.

The wood availability forecasts are available online at:

http://www.maf.govt.nz/mafnet/publications/wood-availability/

ENDS

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