New report confirms land-use change to carbon farming


Beef+Lamb New Zealand recently released the latest analysis of farm sales data confirming the increasing price of carbon in the ETS is driving the conversion of whole pastoral farms into forestry, particularly for carbon farming – further underlining the need for urgent Government action.

The latest analysis of data on farm sales for conversion to forestry shows the increasing carbon price is continuing to drive wholesale land-use change, particularly for carbon farming. They say this underlines the need for urgent Government action and amplifies the growing chorus of voices concerned about this issue.

In mid-December B+LNZ released independent analysis of farm sales for the first half of 2021, undertaken by Orme & Associates, which showed over 14,000 hectares of sheep and beef farmland were purchased with the intent of planting into trees.

This data is provisional and is expected to be higher, given there is a long lag in farm sales being formalised and more sales are likely to have occurred in this period but have not yet been formally reported.

Additionally, a further 8,800 hectares of sheep and beef farm sales in 2020 were formally finalised since B+LNZ’s previous report in August, meaning the revised amount of farmland purchased for exotic forestry in 2020 totalled 24,864 hectares, despite COVID-19 affecting sales.

B+LNZ chief executive Sam McIvor says B+LNZ has been calling for changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme for some time and there are growing concerns about the unbridled ability of fossil fuel emitters to offset their greenhouse gas emissions by planting trees on productive sheep and beef farms.

The report is available on B+LNZ’s website (PDF, 1.42MB).