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Home arrow Articles by Topic arrow Erosion arrow environmental effects of plantation forestry - the Ngunguru catchment
environmental effects of plantation forestry - the Ngunguru catchment PDF Print
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Articles - Erosion
Written by Jenny Baker, Wade and Jan Doak, ECO   
Thursday, 10 July 2014

The Ngunguru Catchment, Northland, New Zealand: Case Study

This discussion document compiled by Jenny Baker for ECO developed in response to concerns by local people on the impact of plantation forestry in Northland and whether the operations were meeting New Zealand standards or standards under the international Forest Stewardship Council. That reflects a wider concern that FSC – certified plantation forests may not be compliant elsewhere in New Zealand, and that considerable environmental damage from siltation of waterways and other impacts.

For many years local people have held concerns over plantation forestry practices in parts of the Ngunguru catchment in Northland, New Zealand. The management of adverse effects from plantation forestry activities is difficult in the area due to a combination of factors including steep country, highly erodible soils, and periodic high rainfall events.

It is not unusual for forestry operations in Northland New Zealand to be located in sensitive catchments, on both the East and West Coasts. “Exotic Forestry covers 14% of the land area in Northland. Based on 2002 and 2007 census data, 2011 sampling, and the recently released Land Cover Database 3, the area in Exotic forest has steadily decreased from 171,000ha to 159,000 ha.“ (Northland Regional Council, State of the Environment Report 2012).

Extensive planting of exotic (non-native) pines in the 1970’s and 1980’s on steep land seemingly gave little consideration as to how the logs were to be harvested and the environmental effects of that part of the rotation in particular. The Ngunguru Catchment provides an example of a high environmental risk site for forestry operations in a sensitive catchment.

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