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New Plantation Forest Rules Settling In

Planning on planting a forest block this winter? Or harvesting?

The National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry (NES-PF) came into force on 1 May 2018, with the intention of improving the environmental performance of forestry, while increasing consistency and clarity for the industry across the country. 

The NES-PF are available online at www.mfe.govt.nz/land/regulations/national-environmental-standards-plantation-forestry/about-standards.  Information is also available here.

“In some cases, the only change to forestry activities is the requirement to notify the District and Regional Councils of the activities taking place,” says Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s forestry advisor, Ben Douglas.

However, with increasing environmental risk there are greater restrictions, for example where there is harvesting or planting planned for steep erodible land, or close to waterways. In these situations, a resource consent will need to be applied for, and if the risks are considered to be too high, resource consent can be declined.

“Overall, the standards seem to be delivering on what they were designed for,” says Ben Douglas.

“As a regional council, we’re more aware of what forestry activity is occuring, and forest managers and owners have more clarity on what their obligations are. Like any new regulations, there has been a settling in period, but at this stage, this appears to be going well.”

The Standards apply to any plantation forest blocks over one hectare in size, and cover all major forestry activities. These include mechanical preparation of the land and the planting itself, right through to earthworks and eventual harvest.

Where landowners or their forestry operators do not meet their obligations, Hawke’s Bay Regional Council can enforce compliance action. Landowners wanting more information and advice, please contact Ben Douglas at HBRC, 027 706 7455. 

5 July 2018

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