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Native Forests report an important contribution to progressing environmental outcomes

B+LNZ has welcomed the release of 'Native Forests: Resetting the balance', a report by the Aotearoa Circle that sets out how native planting could be incentivised and accelerated to improve New Zealand’s biodiversity and in turn improve climate change outcomes.
Tuesday, 8 September 2020

The report recommends greater recognition of the carbon sequestration potential of native trees, which B+LNZ says adds weight to the work it’s doing to advocate for farmers to have on-farm sequestration recognised.

The Aotearoa Circle is an influential group of public and private sector leaders committed to sustainable prosperity and reversing the decline of New Zealand’s natural resources.

B+LNZ Environment Strategy Manager Corina Jordan says the report is an important contribution to progressing environmental outcomes. “It operates at the intersection between biodiversity and climate change policy and echoes a number of points B+LNZ has been making.

“The report provides recognition of the broad ecosystem services offered by native forests – everything from air purification, erosion control and water purification through to cultural value. It also recognises that the carbon sequestration potential of natives outweighs that of exotics over time.

“We agree with the report’s findings that there is a serious imbalance of incentives for planting exotics versus natives and that there are a number of unintended consequences associated with incentivising large-scale afforestation in the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), including the lost opportunity to support the regeneration of native biodiversity.

“We see He Waka Eke Noa, the Joint Action Plan on Primary Sector Emissions, as a key vehicle for recognising sequestration by native plantings, rewarding farmers for the sequestration already happening on their farms and also helping to increase on-farm biodiversity.

“There are aspects to the report we disagree with, such as the characterisation of ‘marginal land’ – our research shows such land can be profitable and productive, and we believe the focus should be on integrated landscapes where farmers farm to the land as opposed to simply characterising higher land use classes as marginal and/or unproductive.

“Additionally, the report contains lots of ideas for incentivising regeneration which we’d like to take time to consider.

“Our farmers constantly tell us they’re passionate about their land and the environment – as kaitiaki of their land, sheep and beef farmers are host to 2.8 million hectares of native biodiversity, including 1.4 million hectares of native forest, the second largest holding of native forest and native biodiversity – but that the economics of enhancing that biodiversity don’t always make sense.

“B+LNZ is currently involved in research into the amount of sequestration already happening on farms, with results due soon.

“We hope the Native Forests report is influential in informing future Government policy around climate change and indigenous biodiversity, and we are keen to be part of this conversation.”

ENDS

Click here for a copy of the Native Forests: Resetting the balance report by the Aotearoa Circle: https://www.theaotearoacircle.nz/news/2020/8/26/workstream-updates

For more information, please contact B+LNZ’s Katie Jans on katie.jans@beeflambnz.com or 027 838 6353.