New Zealandís plantation forests provide benefits for many environmental services and processes such as clean streams, erosion protection, carbon sequestration, and flood abatement as well as social benefits such as recreation. The contribution to New Zealandís indigenous biodiversity is one benefit that is often overlooked or dismissed. Almost 60% of New Zealand is under pasture, crop, horticulture, and plantation forest management and many indigenous species (some of which are threatened) are also present within these environments. Within the plantation forest estate alone there could be as much as 200,000 hectares of indigenous forest remnants, riparian strips, watercourses and wetland. Many of New Zealandís threatened species find favourable habitats in or adjacent to plantation forests. Some may utilise plantation stands on a full-time basis including kiwi, falcon (karearea), Hochstetterís frogs, and long-tailed bats. Other threatened species often utilise plantation forests to supplement food supplies but remain reliant on adjacent natural forest (e.g. kaka, kea, kakariki, and kereru). In either case, plantation forests provide key habitats for these species and, with careful management, contribute to their continued survival.
Private land owners are becoming more aware of the importance of caring for threatened habitats and species on their lands. Much of this comes from a growing awareness in the wider community, possibly resulting from implementation of the Resource Management Act, the Conservation Act, and Wildlife Act. For those involved in the forest industry, the NZ Forest Accord and, more recently, third party forest certification systems have placed extra impetus on managing for threatened species along with their habitats and other biodiversity values. However, the industry has been hampered by a lack of practical and comprehensive guidelines on how to manage threatened species on private land.
The need for a practical guideline for managing indigenous biodiversity and threatened species on private land has lead to the development of this guide by the NZ Forest Owners Association. With funding from the New Zealand Governmentís Biodiversity Advice Fund and technical expertise provided by Wildland Consultants the guide aims to provide a practical means for foresters to manage threatened species that may reside within their plantation estates.
A key driver for the guideís development has been the threatened species provisions contained in the NZ Forest Owners Associationís National Standard for Sustainable Plantation Forest Management. The guide will also be applicable to other forest owners, private land-owners, regulators, landcare groups, and Environmental NGOís.
Further information on this guide can be obtained from:
NZ Forest Owners Association