The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has released its annual National Exotic Forest Description report (HTML and PDFs), finding that New Zealand’s plantation forest area has declined for the second year in a row. From the MAF press release:
The 2006 survey indicates approximately 12,900 hectares of forest clear felled in the year to 31 March 2006 will not be replanted. This represents a third of the total area harvested. Most of this â€˜deforestationâ€™ occurred in the Central North Island and Canterbury, mostly converted to pasture.
NZ’s plantation forests cover about 1.8 million hectares in total, 70% in the North Island, and Pinus radiata, aka the Monterey pine, covers 89% of that land. Stuff, the Herald and No Right Turn point out the obvious – a loss of forest cover increases our Kyoto liability. Perhaps we should let all the wilding radiata grow, and count them as sinks instead… (that was irony, by the way).