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Wednesday, 16 March 2022 09:55

Pines to be banned from ETS?

Written by  Leo Argent
Forestry Minister Stuart Nash. Forestry Minister Stuart Nash.

A proposal to better manage carbon farming could see plantings of exotic forests like radiata pine excluded from the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).

Forestry Minister Stuart Nash and Climate Change Minister James Shaw recently released a public discussion document to better manage afforestation.

“The Government wants to encourage afforestation to help meet our climate change targets, offset carbon emissions, and also to help farmers, landowners and investors diversify their income streams,” Nash says.

“We want to balance the risks created by new permanent exotic forests which are not intended for harvest. We have a window to build safeguards into the system, prior to a new ETS framework coming into force on 1 January 2023.”

From 2023, under current rules, a new permanent forest category of the ETS would allow both exotic and indigenous forests to be registered in the ETS and earn New Zealand Units (NZU). The NZU price has more than doubled over the past year, from around $35 in late 2020 to over $80 in February 2022.

However, the Government is a now proposing to exclude exotic species from the permanent forest category.

“We want to encourage the right tree, in the right place, for the right reason. We intend to balance the need for afforestation with wider needs of local communities, regional economies and the environment,” Nash says.

“Permanent exotic forests like radiata pine have potential environmental and ecological risks and a relatively short lifespan compared to well-managed mixed indigenous forests.”

Nash says later in the year, the Government will consult on proposals which could give local councils more powers to decide under the Resource Management Act where exotic forests are planted.

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