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New PCE report highlights the crucial role of forests in NZ

2 June 2024

The New Zealand Institute of Forestry (NZIF) largely endorses the latest report by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE), “Going with the Grain: Changing Land Uses to Fit a Changing Landscape.” This comprehensive and forward-thinking report underscores the indispensable role of all types of forests—native, plantation, and regenerating—in addressing climate change and enhancing environmental resilience.

The PCE report compellingly argues forests provide more than carbon sequestration; they offer vital ecosystem services such as biodiversity conservation, water regulation, and soil protection. These functions are crucial for the health of our environment and the sustainability of our communities.

NZIF firmly believes New Zealand needs to increase its forest cover across all forest types to meet its environmental and climate goals. Native forests are crucial for preserving biodiversity. Plantation forests significantly contribute to the economy and carbon sequestration, and regenerating forests, particularly on degraded lands, enhance landscape resilience and carbon capture.

The report highlights the critical role of New Zealand’s production forests in the circular bio-economy. These forests help reduce emissions through sustainable timber production and the use of forest biomass for energy. They support a renewable resource economy, which is essential for transitioning away from fossil fuels and towards more sustainable practices.

In light of the PCE report’s findings, NZIF strongly opposes any move to remove forestry from the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). Forests are fundamental to carbon sequestration, and their inclusion in the ETS is crucial for incentivising sustainable forestry practices and achieving New Zealand’s climate targets. Removing forestry from the ETS would undermine climate mitigation efforts and could lead to increased deforestation and degradation.

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Source: New Zealand Institute of Forestry (NZIF)

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