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New Zealand Cypress Strategy 2021 – 2041

By Cypress development Group, NZFFA, December 2021.

Download SWP-T138 (pdf)

Executive summary

This strategy presents the business case for developing a cypress forest industry, in particular the required market development for cypress timber and growing a plantation industry that is of a sufficient scale to support further development and growth.

Cypress provides a chemical free alternative to treated pine for the domestic market, appealing to the discerning consumer who seeks a chemical free product. Being a niche, high quality product cypress timber should continue to attract a premium over commodity timbers. However, market barriers currently limit applications for the timber and growers lack confidence in planting the species because of its reputation for being prone to disease.

The reputation of cypress as a premium plantation timber species needs to be reinstated. Clones (cutting grown trees) are becoming available that perform very well across a range of challenging sites, revealing the considerable potential for clonal cypress forestry in New Zealand. It is feasible to claim that a Cypress variety can be found to suit all regional differences in New Zealand.

Promotional activities are required that present the current state of play and dispel the failures of the past. A strong promotional campaign needs to be supported by regional demonstration plots and field days showing growth rates and health of the latest cultivars to prospective growers.

For confidence to plant the right (canker resistant) cypress species in the right place to produce profitable returns, land owners must be adequately informed. Comprehensive, detailed information (including productivity models, economic models etc) and regularly updated general information (Cypress Growers handbook) is essential to inform stakeholders decisions.

Market development efforts are required to expand the cypress processing industry to generate greater demand for the timber and also provide growers with confidence in planting trees. New and innovative products are required that take advantage of the special properties of cypress timber. Changes to the building code are required so that cypress is no longer disadvantaged for traditional products such as timber framing. This will lead to a market where supply does not meet demand in the short term, but would encourage growers to plant more trees, a positive outcome that generates resilience in the sector and confidence in the species.

Matching timber demand with supply is going to eventually require development of an export market for logs and sawn timber to ensure that as the industry grows, logs that are surplus to local demand can be sold so growers’ confidence continues to match the expansion of the industry.

Regional cypress industries are viable in all regions throughout New Zealand. Matching species and cultivars to regions and sites is essential. Matching demand with supply should take place at the regional level and involve co-operative supply chains.


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