New Zealand's Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry opens discussions about future forestry plans that encourage new forest plantings; consultation period closes Feb. 18 2011

WELLINGTON, New Zealand , December 10, 2010 (press release) – The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has begun consultation on the future shape of forestry schemes that encourage new forest plantings.

Schemes included in the review are the Permanent Forest Sink Initiative (PFSI), Afforestation Grant Scheme (AGS) and Hill Country Erosion Programme (HCEP).

Consultation opens on 13 December and closes on 18 February 2011.

MAF Natural Resources Group director Mike Jebson says the review will focus on the performance of the schemes against their supporting policies and objectives, consider costs and benefits and issues and opportunities, and recommend future options for the afforestation schemes and how these options might best be implemented.

“These schemes were all introduced before the advent of the Emissions Trading Scheme, with the important aim of encouraging forest planting.”

“While the aims of the schemes still stack up, with regard to carbon sequestration, erosion control and water quality improvement, it’s time the overall effectiveness of these schemes is considered, given that the ETS provides a significant incentive to plant trees in its own right.”

“But it’s important the Government has all the relevant views from those in the forestry and land management sectors, so this consultation process is vital to the review process.”

The East Coast Forestry Project will also be partially reviewed, with the review limited to its cost effectiveness, implementation issues and opportunities, and inter-actions with other forestry schemes.

The ETS for forestry will not be included as it is part of the wider ETS review scheduled to take place next year.

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