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Identifying sites for potential afforestation across erodible landscapes of the Hawke’s Bay region

Authors: David Palmer, Kit Richards, Robin Black, James Powrie, Tim Payn, Mike Marden
Publication: New Zealand Journal of Forestry, Volume N.Z.J.For. 2020, Issue N.Z.J.For. 65(1) 2020, pp 7-11, May 2020

Abstract: Identifying the right landscape in which to establish a plantation species is critical for economic and environmental sustainability. Hawke’s Bay, like the rest of New Zealand, has a range of landscapes from the fertile low-lying alluvial plains through to elevated steep land. As the landscapes become increasingly elevated and steep, so do environmental issues related to commercial forestry operations. Typically, with higher elevations and steeper landscapes soils can become increasingly eroded and skeletal, leaving them vulnerable to degradation when not protected by woody vegetation. In this paper we identify landscapes that are skeletal, eroded, vulnerable and suffering from climatic extremes, which are best suited to retirement plantings that will retain environmental quality and hold these landscapes together. Conversely, we also identify landscapes that have potential for commercial forestry. This project’s mapping approach utilises Land Use Capability (LUC) to delineate tree landscape (TreeScape) classes by identifying locations where commercial afforestation is suitable, compared to landscapes that should be retired. Greater mapping detail is gained by combining the LUC maps with the erosion, slope and direction of intense storm events maps.