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ETS forestry deal poses risk to bee populations

Media release
24 November 2009

ETS forestry deal poses significant risk to bee populations

Government’s afforestation policy could potentially harm bees and put at risk New Zealand’s $3 billion per annum pollination industry.

The National Beekeepers’ Association of New Zealand (NBA) is urging government and iwi to take into account the significant risk to bees when replanting marginal land with sequestration forestry.

“It’s critical that we preserve the plants and trees that are essential food stocks for our bee populations,” said NBA joint chief executive officer, Daniel Paul.

“Much of this flora, particularly manuka and other native plants, gorse and broom, is on marginal and DOC land and it’s at risk if we concentrate solely on planting forest sinks.”

Mr Paul said although gorse and broom are considered pests, these plants are known to provide the most nutritionally complete food for bees in New Zealand.

“We are urging Government and iwi not to lose sight of the importance of maintaining our bee populations.”

Mr Paul said bees are vital to New Zealand’s horticulture and agriculture industries and contribute to a pollination industry worth an estimated $3 billion per year.

“Severely reducing their food supply would have disastrous impacts.”

New Zealand’s honey trade is valued at a conservative $100 million per year.

“Many of our valuable export industries would be severely affected by a decline in bee health and the number of bee colonies, which are already under threat from diseases such as varroa,” said Mr Paul.

ENDS

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