The government has committed to planting One Billion Trees, a big number of that is planned to be native trees. Newsroom did a story on this and Lillian Hanly wanted to follow up with it because native trees take a bit longer to germinate than exotic trees, the process is more complicated she says. So for the government to say this will happen, well, it may not be as simple as that. Different native seeds take different times to germinate for example, and if you miss the specific time to clip that seed well you have to wait for the next year to do it again. Not to mention the capital needed to start this process, the soil, the tools, the labour involved. You don’t get anything back from that until after you have the crop to sell. Despite this complicated process, native trees are really really important. So we need to make sure the support is there to see it through. Paul Michael works at Fern Factor, a specialist fern factory. Lillian spoke to him about the Project, how exactly it could get done and why it should get done. Lillian started by asking his reaction to the announcement of the Billion Trees Project.
During Lillian's research, she got in touch with the Ministry of Primary Industries who are spearheading the project. There was no time to get audio, but they did provide her with this information:
Firstly, a link to the latest update.
But essentially, the information explained that the target for those one billion trees to be planted would be by 2027. "The Government’s role is as an enabler – supporting increased planting of a wide range of both native and exotic species to create these benefits for all New Zealanders. The commercial forestry sector is projected to plant more than half a billion trees in the next 10 years, while private landowners, government agencies, NGOs, Maori landowners, regional councils, nurseries and the private sector are the key to planting the rest."
The government is looking at a broad range of both exotic and native species, as well as focusing on the "right trees in the right place, for the right purpose" - this would be similar to 'eco sourcing' as discussed in the interview.
"To date, Cabinet has approved $245 million from the PGF to kick-start the programme. This provides for up to 24 million extra trees planted through Crown Forestry joint ventures with landowners, together with a significant increase in funding for the Hill Country Erosion programme to support regional council’s tree planting initiatives.
On top of this, Cabinet has set aside a further $240 million from the Provincial Growth Fund to create two new incentive packages in the form of a new grants scheme and a new partnership fund. This includes $118 million for the grants scheme, $120 million for the partnership fund, on top of $21.9 million allocated for projects already approved through the PGF.
Benefits include indigenous regeneration, planting for water quality or erosion, sustainable employment, and more resilient landscapes.The main aim of these new incentive schemes is to help lower the barriers currently faced by landowners and to improve the choices they have."
Looking forwards, we will see
Looking forwards, "across the whole programme, we’re expecting up to 260 million trees to be planted over the next three seasons. This includes approximately 150 million from existing commercial planting and replanting, 30 million from existing native planting, and 80 million from government investment in joint ventures and the new grants fund."
Photo credit: RadioNZ