Landowner attitudes to afforestation in the Hawke’s Bay region of New Zealand

Authors: Simon Taylor, Michelle Harnett
Publication: New Zealand Journal of Forestry, Volume N.Z.J.For. 2020, Issue N.Z.J.For. 65(2) 2020, pp 21-27, Aug 2020
Publisher: New Zealand Institute of Forestry

Abstract: The decisions made by landowners about tree planting or any other strategic land-level decisions are influenced by a range of factors, drivers and barriers that make every situation unique. Developing an understanding of core drivers and barriers affecting New Zealand landowners’ views on afforestation, and addressing these, may increase the likelihood of them planting the right tree in the right place to ensure both individual landowner and community expectations are met. Interviews with landowners and rural professionals established that a range of potential benefits can be achieved through purposeful tree planting, and that perceived risks were often a barrier. Alongside this, a clear gap (and opportunity) was identified for a central support and guidance system to work alongside landowners to understand their objectives and constraints and to develop long-term plans that fit with their needs and expectations. There is an opportunity for regional bodies to influence and drive tree-planting behaviour, but this needs to be focused on the needs of individual farms and be supported by a community dynamic that encourages responsible planting. It is possible to drive behaviour change, but it will require conversations around the dining table, not pre-packaged solutions.