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October, 2015

Revitalising New Zealand communities through forest establishment

Using forest establishment to revitalise the environmental, social and economic health of small New Zealand communities.

In 2012, Scion’s Forest Systems Team carried out an investigation into the factors causing the decline of the environmental and social health in the Waiapu Catchment, located on New Zealand’s East Coast. This research found that historic deforestation was driving massively increased erosion and nutrient loss, degrading both land and water quality. This environmental degradation eventually translated into significant economic and social decline as the capacity of the land to support the local community deteriorated. This process was predicted to be accelerated by climate change, which would further enhance land degradation. It was recommended that a reforestation programme be initiated to help restore this community.

The outcomes of this project were accepted by various national and local bodies, and have become part of a recently announced 100-year partnership between the Ministry for Primary Industries, Te Runanga o Ng?ti Porou and Gisborne District Council to restore the health of the Waiapu Catchment. As recommended by the Scion team, establishing new radiata pine plantations on the highly erodible land is a key priority for the partnership, as this will to reduce soil degradation and provide new sources of employment within the community. This combination of environmental, social and economic research carried out by Scion is now considered a model to identify opportunities to maintain and improve the way of life in small communities around NZ. For more information, please follow the link below.

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