New rules proposed for carbon farming of exotic forests in future
A new proposal to better manage carbon farming could see future permanent plantings of exotic forests like radiata pine excluded from the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).
What key changes are being proposed?
The new permanent forest category of the NZ ETS, which comes into force on 1 January 2023, permits exotic species including radiata pine as well indigenous forestry to be registered in the scheme and earn New Zealand Units (NZU).
The Government has listened to submissions and confirmed the risk that the new permanent forest category and high NZU prices could accelerate the establishment of new permanent exotic forests which are not intended for harvest.
To manage this risk, the proposed changes include restricting exotic forests from registering in the permanent post-1989 category in the Emissions Trading Scheme, which will remove the NZ ETS incentive to plant permanent exotic forests.
The Government is also consulting on a proposal to adjust how the new carbon accounting method (averaging accounting) applies to remote and marginal land for harvesting.
What is the scale of Māori forestry interests?
In 2018, Māori were estimated to own $4.3 billion of forestry assets and some 2,200 Māori were employed in the sector (40% of the forestry workforce).
Around 30% of New Zealand’s 1.7 million hectares of plantation forestry is estimated to be on Māori land, and this is expected to grow to 40% as Treaty settlements are completed.
Public submissions can be made from 14 March. The consultation runs till 22 April 2022.