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What Research is Being Funded by the Forest Grower Levy?

    

All forest owners who are harvesting trees are now paying the forest grower levy - 27 cents per tonne on all trees harvested and sold to a processing plant or exported as logs. Approximately half of the levy is being allocated to research and development that will be of benefit to all forest owners. So what research projects are being funded from the $3.7M of levy funds allocated to research and development in 2015?

 Fund allocation by theme

Consistent with the forest growing science and innovation strategy, protecting the forest estate from damaging diseases, pests, fire and wind is the high priority with 30 % of the levy allocated to this work. Research aims to better understand foliar diseases, disease behaviour and spread mechanisms, the impact on forest growth, and control options. A major focus is on red needle cast.

The biggest proportion of the budget is allocated to raising the sustainable productivity of the forest estate to improve forest values and profitability so that commercial forestry remains a competitive land use in NZ and continues to provide the wider benefits that forests provide to the community - reduced soil erosion, clean water, biodiversity and recreation opportunities. Ensuring the wood grown is uniform and consistent in the quality required by processors to be profitable is also a key part of this programme.

Improving the safety and efficiency of harvesting on steep slopes through the application of modern technology is the focus of the Steep Land Harvesting programme. Mechanised tree falling and bunching, improved grapple systems, vision systems to improve operator visibility and teleoperation or remote control of harvesting equipment are a focus of this programme.

To provide options for forest owners the Diverse Species programme is focused on improving the growth, quality and health of the main species grown as an alternative to Radiata pine - Douglas-fir, Cypress species, Redwoods and Eucalypt species.

The community's expectation is that land use activities, including forestry, will not cause negative environmental impacts so maintaining our industry licence to operate is critical. We must do this to stay in business long-term and continue to access markets that expect a high level of environmental performance. Water quality, chemicals and soil and biodiversity impacts are all components of this.

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