What science is the forest levy providing farm foresters?
Growing Confidence in Forestry’s Future (GCFF) Research Programme:
At the recent GCFF conference a wide array of results with direct relevance to farm foresters were presented by the scientists working in this levy funded programme.
Around 50% of the Forest Grower Levy is used to support research that improves the productivity, safety and ecological sustainability of New Zealand’s planted forests. As well as national level assessments to guide the entire sector, information about management practices that could be used at any level of operation was also provided. This included results from trials into soil stimulants that improve nutrient availability, selection of nursery stock that has been enhanced with beneficial mycorrhizal fungi, and new systems to get the most value from your trees by improving quality assessments on the skid site. The environmental impacts of forest management and the non-timber value that trees provide is also a focus of this programme. The results of long-term studies were presented, showing the benefits of retaining harvesting slash on site for the growth of the next rotation and the critical importance of retaining topsoil to maintain productivity. Lastly, new data clearly identifying the other financial benefits that forests provide in terms of avoided erosion, carbon capture, water regulation and the protection of biodiversity were provided. Presentations were also given by international experts and local government to provide outside perspective on the research Scion is conducting to improve forest productivity while reducing the negative ecological impacts of forest management.