Report: Trees for steep slopes
Sustainable Forest Solutions
Reviewed by Mike Marden, July 2018.
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Please note that the web report is regularly updated whereas the pdf download above is dated July 2018.
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In a nutshell
Mānuka has potential as a honey-producing nurse crop for slow-growing high value plantation timber species on exposed steep eroding hillsides.
Mānuka is not a plantation forestry species for timber, but there is considerable interest in plantations for producing honey.
There has been international acceptance of the medicinal properties of mānuka honey, which holds a significant price premium in the market depending on the activity rating (Orme, 2017). As a plantation investment, costs associated with planting mānuka are higher than for managing an existing stand and expected rates of return will be lower (Orme, 2017). By adding in carbon to the equation however, mānuka plantations could potentially produce a positive internal rate of return (Orme, 2017).
Because climatic conditions influence flowering success, honey production is subject to annual variability (Orme, 2017).
As a primary coloniser, mānuka naturally dies out as larger trees over-grow the canopy (Orme, 2017), so retaining the mānuka crop would require active management. Another option is to interplant plantation forestry species with mānuka to increase the stocking of trees for improved erosion mitigation, along with production of honey from the mānuka until overshadowed by the timber species. Mānuka could provide a source of income during the establishment phase of the longer term timber crop, while also acting as the nurse for improved form and establishment of the timber crop.
Native species such as tōtara, kauri and beech benefit from the protection a mānuka nurse crop provides when planted on exposed, steep eroding hillsides.
Disclaimer: The opinions and information provided in this report have been provided in good faith and on the basis that every endeavour has been made to be accurate and not misleading and to exercise reasonable care, skill and judgement in providing such opinions and information. The Author and NZFFA will not be responsible if information is inaccurate or not up to date, nor will we be responsible if you use or rely on the information in any way.