Fish & Game Supports Calls for Forestry Re-Focus
- Richie Cosgrove
Fish & Game NZ is supporting calls for an urgent rethink on the rapid proliferation of exotic forests currently being supported by central government, and instead, refocus on native plantings for better long-term environmental and social outcomes.
The Native Forest Coalition – comprising the Environmental Defence Society, Pure Advantage, Road Donald Trust, the Tindall Foundation, Project Crimson, Dame Anne Salmon and Dr Adam Forbes – recently released a statement urging a shift away from “short-term thinking and siloed government policy” in tackling climate change.
Central to the Native Forest Coalition’s concerns is current policy favouring carbon sequestering in exotic pine plantations over native forests, which is being driven by high carbon prices. This is having a myriad of adverse impacts.
“While Fish & Game is behind initiatives to address the climate crisis, the current short-sighted focus on securing offshore carbon credits ignores significant long-term environmental and social problems,” says Fish & Game spokesman Ray Grubb.
“A very real concern is the effect of pines on instream flows. Research has established rainwater run-off is diminished by up to 40% by pine plantations. Widespread plantings in catchments will be in direct conflict with the Government’s current objectives to improve freshwater.
“Further, mass sedimentation events when exotic forests are felled have catastrophic impacts on instream biology and water quality.”
Plantation forestry has a place in helping meet New Zealand’s climate change commitments, says Grubb, but the proliferation of monoculture pine plantings in recent years has clearly been “out of control” and “ill-considered”.
“Look at what’s happening in the high country where the Department of Conservation and landowners are waging an ongoing and very costly war against wilding pines, which threaten the iconic landscape.
“We fully agree that strategies that are linked together will have far better long-term results for New Zealand, socially and environmentally.”
Mr Grubb says the Native Forest Coalition’s call for resolving eligibility disparities in the ETS between natives and exotics needs to be urgently addressed.
“The initiative has Fish & Game’s full support.”