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Survey shows deforestation reducing

18 March 2008

Survey shows deforestation reducing

The latest survey of deforestation intentions shows that forest owners intend to dramatically reduce deforestation as a result of the proposed emissions trading scheme, Forestry Minister Jim Anderton said today.

When the survey was done last year, the amount of planned deforestation over the Kyoto Protocol's first commitment period (2008 to 2012) was expected to be around 50,000 hectares. That's dropped to just 12,000 hectares over the same period in this latest survey.

Jim Anderton said that in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, that meant a reduction in emissions from around 40 million tonnes to around 10 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent over the Kyoto Protocol period.

"That's a saving in emission liabilities of $760 million for the New Zealand economy assuming a carbon price of $25 per tonne CO2."

The survey also shows that a number of landowners have taken advantage of the transitional period prior to 2008 when deforestation could be undertaken without liabilities under the Kyoto Protocol. In the 2006 survey, expected deforestation for 2007 was 13,000 hectares. However, actual deforestation was 19,000 hectares in 2007.

The survey also shows that overall the introduction of the ETS will save many millions of tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, even taking into account last year's rise in deforestation.

Reducing deforestation also reduces nutrient loads and possibly erosion and flood risks in some of New Zealand's most important waterways.

Jim Anderton said the Government recognised that placing controls on greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation would affect some forest owners' land values.

"That is why the government clearly signalled such controls in 2002, providing the industry a six-year transitional period.

"The government is also working with stakeholders on the best way to allocate an additional adjustment package worth some $825 million," Jim Anderton said.

The survey report is available on the MAF website at http://www.maf.govt.nz/climatechange/forestry/ets/deforestation/index.htm# rpt2007

ENDS

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