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Land use options and economic returns for marginal hill country in Northland

Authors: Dean Satchell
Publication: New Zealand Journal of Forestry, Volume N.Z.J.For. 2021, Issue N.Z.J.For. 66(2) 2021, pp 27-33, Aug 2021
Publisher: New Zealand Institute of Forestry

Abstract: This paper compares economic returns from existing pastoral production with plantation forestry on steep Northland hill country, to help inform decisions on land use change. The economic analysis specifically targets high erosion risk pastoral land and appraises two plantation forest options - radiata pine clearfell and permanent totara forest. Permanent (continuous cover) forestry offers improved environmental outcomes compared with clearfell forestry, by mitigating erosion and the sedimentation of water bodies. Because permanent forests are long-term investments, the analysis is over 150 years. Results compare relative profitability of existing pasture with new plantation forests and consider sensitivity to interest rate, carbon price, planting subsidies and a price on pastoral carbon emissions.