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April, 2023

Forest Owners say carbon-only forestry should be kept off productive land

The Forest Owners Association would like to see production forestry and farming on productive land – rather than this land used for carbon-only forests.

It says this should be a priority for any incoming government.

The FOA has been approached for comment on carbon-only forests, following National Leader, Chris Luxon, promising this morning to tighten controls for overseas investment in carbon-only forest planting.

FOA President, Grant Dodson, says the Overseas Investment Office has always interpreted the Overseas Investment Act to prohibit investment in carbon-only forests.

“But it seems Chris Luxon is pointing to an absence in the Act of explicit prohibition of registration of forests into the permanent Emmisions Trading Scheme section by overseas buyers.

Grant Dodson says the FOA represents approximately three-quarters of New Zealand forests.

“None of our members are carbon-only investors.  Our focus, whether we are local or overseas owners, is growing trees to harvest them.”

“There is a case for carbon-only forests to help fight climate change, but only on land highly unlikley to be useable for other productive uses, such as farming or commercial forestry.”

“It’s important productive lands remain both productive and we retain flexibility of land use, so the highest value crop or animal can be grown for New Zealand’s economic prosperity,” Grant Dodson says.

“If the National Party thinks the Overseas Investment Act is unclear, then they might want to change it.  We’d share their view that overseas investment in any form is a privilege, and not a right.”

“FOA believes there is room for a National Evironmental Standard for Plantation Forests to be developed separately for carbon-only forests, as they are not covered by existing rules for commercial plantation forests destined for harvest.”

2 posts.

Post from Vaughan Kearns on April 26, 2023 at 9:03PM

The FOA President should be consulting with the FFA President on matters such as this, on which I believe we can speak with more authority. I'm sick of our organisation being sidelined by the FOA. Further, the suggestion that FOA speak for 75% of Forest Growers needs to be challenged. This is NOT what MPI Data reveals. As the FOA represents Forest owners of 1000 hectares or more, the number is 70% on their own website and due to the massive underreporting of small forests is likely 60%.

What we do know is that recent harvest volumes show 40% as belonging to SMEs and anecdotal reports from export agents suggest 50% of the export log trade comes from SMEs.

Post from Jeff Tombleson on April 4, 2024 at 11:58PM

A six-year search for carbon only (ghost) forests continue.


It’s unfortunate that common new plantings of forests on farm sites for timber production and carbon are being labelled ‘carbon forests’ including by TUR-NZFS Wellington based, policy analyst staff. Most of the 160,000 hectares of new plantings have occurred over the past five or six years, during which time tending in terms of any pruning or thinning has not commenced.


For six years I have been searching for such forest investors who are most likely to have over 99 hectares of new forest so they can apparently plant high stockings and walk away while enjoying high returns from a regime that maximises carbon. Regularly I ask my colleagues, and broadcast inquiry at field days and seminars “please someone give me a name and address where I might meet an investor of a carbon only forest” – six years of silence.


I clearly recall the new land plantings of the 1990s that peaked at 100,000 hectares of radiata pine established in 1994 mostly by just a few corporate forest investors that thankfully forms the basis of NZs 700,000-hectare post89 forest sink today. These forests were established with no expectations of making money from a construct called the Forestry-ETS. At around five or six years old these forests were barely distinguishable from the 160,000 hectares of new forests established post2018.


Tragically for the forest industry, policy, particularly around the so-called Forestry ETS is proposed and installed by non-sector qualified or experienced govt staff (unique to the forest sector).


I hesitantly state that rhetoric around ‘ghost forests’ planted for carbon only is also a diversionary ploy by forest investors themselves.


If you can refer me to an investor who has established a forest for carbon only (and by law is likely to be advised by a MPI registered advisor) I am genuinely keen to meet them.



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