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Annex 2: The role of non-climate policies in a sustainable forestry framework

RELEASED UNDER THE OFFICIAL INFORMATION ACT

Production forestry also offers a range of co-benefits, including improved water quality, erosion control, and biodiversity. Reference is made here to these key non-climate policies and programmes.

In addition to the above climate change policies, there are a range of other policies and programmes that contribute to positive climate change outcomes. These are listed here in Annex 2, but not discussed in detail. Some will have a greater role in future should international negotiations require the accounting of all land-use activities.

East Coast Forestry Project

The East Coast Forestry Project addresses eroding soils on pastoral land in the Gisborne Region by encouraging sustainable land use through a contestable fund for landowners to plant trees or allow the land to revert to scrub.

The aim of the project is to cover 60,000ha of the most erosion-prone land in trees and encourage retirement of some land so it can revert to native forest. Since the project's inception in 1992, 32,000ha of planted forest has been established. This includes about 17,000ha of the targeted at-risk land with the balance being adjacent land established to form sustainable forest management stands.

Biosecurity Act 1993

The importance of biosecurity for forestry in terms of loss of productivity resulting from an incursion of a damage-causing pest is obvious. Under current policy, the Government has a vested interest to ensure that forest resources that generate forest sink credits are adequately protected. Any reduction in carbon stocks results in liabilities.

Forest biosecurity has both active and passive surveillance programmes in place that are developed to detect the emergence of any previously unknown pest, and to detect any changes in the health status of New Zealand's commercial and urban forests. The forestry industry recognises this critical issue and the majority of corporate investors operate (or contribute to) regular monitoring programmes.

Sustainable-development frameworks

The Government has in place a number of statutes that create the conditions for sound management of natural and physical resources. The New Zealand forestry industry and its processing sectors rely heavily on the quality of these natural and physical resources.

In addition to this, the Government is developing, improving and supporting existing systems such as environmental indicators for land, research, new policy tools, market incentives and regulations.

The RMA promotes the sustainable management of natural and physical resources. Its core purpose is to help achieve sustainability in New Zealand. The Act governs the use and development of our land, air and water resources, concentrating on managing the environmental effects of human activities.

The overriding purpose of the Soil Conservation and Rivers Control Act 1941 is to provide for the conservation of soil resources and the prevention of damage by erosion, and to better provide for the protection of property from damage by floods. A number of activities are undertaken by regional councils under this Act, including the use of forestry for catchment-control purposes.

Regional councils also undertake farm planning programmes under the Local Government Act 2002. The use of Environmental Farm Plans offers a method for local government to give landowners technical and scientific information that is matched to their individual property, including the planting of trees where this is a more appropriate land use than current alternatives.

Space planting of trees on hillsides, the establishment of protection and production-protection forests and farm woodlots have all provided slope stability to significant areas. Much of this work has been achieved through cost-sharing programmes involving Government, local government and landowner funds. The various regional programmes administered by regional councils continue this work, along with contributions from individual planting by farm foresters and forestry companies.

Other policies - Article 3.4 and full carbon accounting

Many other non-climate policies and programmes contribute to climate change outcomes and could assist any move to fuller carbon accounting (eg, accounting for practices under Article 3.4).

Sustainable Forest Management under the Forests Act 1949 (Part IIIA)

MAF administers the indigenous forestry provisions of the Forests Act 1949, under which indigenous timber can be produced only from forests that are managed within acceptable ecological limits, so that they are maintained in perpetuity.

Research on forestry

Crown Research Institutes such as Scion (New Zealand Forest Research Institute) and Landcare Research undertake research on forestry management and biomaterials science. This work also contributes to the development of the NZCAS.

The School of Forestry at the University of Canterbury examines the multiple benefits of forestry. The findings from this research are published nationally and internationally. This research investigates such issues as biosecurity, conservation biology, forest ecology, forest soils and silviculture of indigenous forests.

The Sustainable Farming Fund, administered by MAF, provides project-based grant funding to help the land-based primary production sectors solve problems and take up opportunities to overcome barriers to economic, social and environmental viability. The Fund has funded a number of forestry-related projects.

Queen Elizabeth the Second National Trust

The Trust was established by the Queen Elizabeth the Second National Trust Act 1977 "to encourage and promote the provision, protection and enhancement of open space for the benefit and enjoyment of the people of New Zealand".

The trust works with a wide range of people and organisations, from individual land owners through to representatives of local and central government. The trust receives base funding from the Crown, along with funding for biodiversity advice and condition-improvement funding. It also receives donations from organisations and private individuals.