Road running out on exploitative land use
If it is “the right thing to do”, why is Aratu Forests committing less than half of 1 percent of the 35,000 hectares they manage to native regeneration? Clear-felling exotic forests is completely unsustainable from any angle, from soil conservation and indigenous biodiversity to waterways protection and transport emissions.
Tairawhiti needs to quickly come to terms with the reality that land use in the region is going to change dramatically and urgently if we are serious about climate and conservation commitments.
Gisborne District Council, as the local authority responsible for land and water use in the region, is asleep at the wheel again.
Trust Tairawhiti — like many local businesses — relies on the forestry industry, and too many jobs are reliant on a status quo that is rapidly running out of time.
This initiative by Aratu Forests is a great metaphor for the looming crisis the region faces. The world is rapidly changing but local leaders pretend we can somehow survive by relying on these kinds of tokenistic fiddling around the edges of the problem.
Far more resources need to be urgently dedicated to finding economically sustainable alternatives to the exploitative land use the region has relied on for the last hundred years. Permanent native cover of highly erosion-prone hillsides — estimated at something like 80 percent of land in the region — is the only option. The longer we ignore that reality, the more traumatic the transition will be.