About Forestry in Hawke's Bay
People call Hawke’s Bay “Wine country”, but with 130,000 hectares under pines, it is really “Pine country”. The regional forest estate is owned by private companies, investors, individual landowners and just a little, by HBRC.
Sawmilling, forest harvest, pulp manufacture and the transport and export of log products provide for thousands of jobs in Hawkes Bay. Forestry offers environmental benefits and a fantastic career path for the inhabitants of the region. Napier is truly a logging town.
The many benefits of Forests in Hawke’s Bay
Forestry has multiple benefits including:
- Timber is essential for construction and as a valuable export commodity and provides for a thriving forest products industry;
- Biodiversity - many native plants and birds such as Brown Kiwi and NZ falcon find ideal habitat in pine forests, and native fish species enjoy the shaded, diverse and woodlined aquatic environment provided under trees.
- Soil conservation and water quality improvement – planted forest provide many benefits to water quality and soil erosion control, relative to other land uses;
- Waste water processing – the HBRC forest at Mahia is irrigated by waste water which protects the coastal and river environments;
- The Waipukurau forest will become a mountain bike park and the Tutira forest and Manuka plantation incorporate walking tracks as part of the Regional Park network;
- Carbon fixing - means more oxygen for us all to breathe, less global warming and carbon units which HBRC can trade for revenue;
- A mānuka trial at Tūtira is a recent investment for HBRC as part of the High Performance Mānuka Plantations programme, a seven year Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) between the mānuka honey industry and the Ministry of Primary Industries. This partnership aims to to increase the supply of medical grade mānuka honey from plantations on marginal land. This crop also offers an exciting alternative means of erosion control on other sites.
HBRC Owned Forests
HBRC owns forests at Mahia, Tūtira Regional Park and nearby Waihapua, Waipawa and Waipukurau.
This mix of forests includes over 50 forest tree species, including pinus radiata, cedars, cypresses, redwoods, eucalypts, mixed natives and mānuka for honey. HBRC’s forest crop was valued at $3.8 million in 2016.
HBRC also manages the Tangoio Soil Conservation Reserve, which is a Crown owned forest area and is part of the rohe of Maungaharuru Tangitū hapu.
Young people and forests go together, and so each summer, 8 students have a forest internship experience at Tangoio and across Hawke's Bay to work in a values based team, to develop work readiness and leadership skills, while tackling old man’s beard and other pest plants in the forests.
HBRC has had a permissive approach to forestry activity since the RMA was enacted, and this has worked well, with forest companies acting responsibly to keep this status. Forest harvest is likely to double by volume (and harvested area) in the next 7 years in the region, which brings new challenges for management of environmental activity for forest engineering and harvesting.
In the near future, regulation of the environmental aspects of plantation forestry is likely to be handled via a National Environmental Standard for Plantation Forestry (NES-PF). This will mean standardised conditions and consent requirements across all regions, and increased environmental protection in forest harvest and roading activities. The NES-PF is due to be gazetted in mid 2017. Watch this space.
Forest Industry Collaboration
Many forest companies operating in Hawke’s Bay, hold independent environmental certification for their forest environmental practices. There have been many innovations over the past 30 years in the environmental aspects of forestry practice and forest engineering (planning and building of roads and skid sites).
The Hawke’s Bay Forestry Group represents the sector to address local issues of shared importance.
Membership includes all larger forest owners with plantations in the region and major forest investment and management companies. Members work together on projects relating to policy development, forestry as a career path, and enhancing environmental performance within the industry. HBRC is a member of this group.
Who to contact
For forest related enquiries contact James Powrie – email@example.com and phone 8339602
James came to HBRC from a corporate, government and research career and studied forestry science and geography at Canterbury and Lincoln.