Forestry Policy

1.0  Purpose

This policy has been developed to provide management direction for the forestry estate administered by Timaru District Council.

2.0  Background

Council currently operates and manages a commercial forestry operation comprising 236 hectares of plantations at 60 separate locations. These plantations are composed of Pinus radiata, Douglas Fir and Macrocarpa. Produce is sold to domestic and international markets.

The majority of the forestry estate is registered within the Emissions Trading Scheme, including some plantation sites now subject to revegetation.

This activity utilises vested Council reserves that are not able to be sold as well as some fee simple land.

The Forestry operation is self funding from forestry produce sales and leasing of land. No rate input is required.

Timaru District Council is one of many local authorities in New Zealand involved in the production and management of plantation forestry.

3.0  Key Definitions

  • Plantation Forestry Plantation forestry is the growing of recognised tree species for timber production on a renewable and sustainable basis.
  • Emissions Trading Scheme The New Zealand Government’s principal policy response to climate change.  It puts a price on greenhouse gas emissions.  Forestry is encompassed within this scheme.
  • Revegetation The process of planting and establishing native species on land previously used for the production of plantation crops.

4.0  Policy

4.1 General Objectives

  1. The Timaru District Council is committed to maintaining a sustainable commercial forestry operation that maximises long term returns for the ratepayer.
  2. The forestry operation will be managed to reflect changing markets, land use, industry standards and legislative requirements, and to ensure that Council is a good neighbour to adjoining properties.
  3. Income generated from the sale of forest produce or rentals from lease of forestry designated areas shall be retained within the Forestry Development Fund to fund ongoing maintenance and development of the forestry estate and associated approved revegetation programmes in accordance with Council’s Investment Policy – Clause 5.3 Forestry Investments.
  4. Proceeds from the disposition of forestry investments are to be applied in accordance with the Investment Policy.
  5. A dividend from the Forestry Development Fund is payable to the Council at any agreed time that does not affect the viability of the forestry operation.

4.2 Land Utilisation and Revegetation of Selected Reserves

  1. Forestry operations will be undertaken utilising reserve areas of various designations vested in Council and some fee simple land owned by Council.
  2. Some designated forestry areas may from time to time be leased to adjoining farming operations for other agricultural purposes where such use results in a return to ratepayers greater than the production of trees will provide.
  3. Council may increase its forestry holdings by utilising appropriate land in Council ownership / stewardship when suitable land and other resources become available.
  4. Following harvest some nominated forestry reserves may be revegetated into native species to meet planning requirements, environmental outcomes or to comply with existing Council reserve management plans.
  5. The approved revegetation of forestry reserves funded from forest income will be accepted as a return to Council on the forestry investment and as a means of contributing to recreational and environmental outcomes.
  6. Those revegetated reserves registered within  the Emissions Trading Scheme  will continue to qualify in their revegetated state provided greater than 33% of the area is covered in appropriate vegetation higher than 5metres after 7 years growth.

4.3 Forestry Management

  1. Preparation of reserves for planting / replanting, maintenance, silvicultural operations and harvesting will be undertaken by Council using suitably qualified and approved contractors.
  2. Overall management of the Forestry asset will be undertaken by Council staff and utilise external consultants as and when required.
  3. External review of forest management practices shall be undertaken at
    10 yearly intervals to ensure these continue to meet changing market and industry standards.
  4. The majority of Council plantation areas are registered and will remain within the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme.
  5. Management of the forestry asset including maintenance, harvesting and replanting is detailed in the Forestry Activity Management Plan.

4.4 Recreational Use

  1. Recreational use within forest reserves will be permitted where this does not compromise forestry estate management or operational objectives.

Adopted Community Development Committee 19 July 2016