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Forestry not farming’s enemy: Wood council

The sheep and beef industry feels under siege but forestry is not the enemy is the response of Eastland Wood Council chief executive Kim Holland to a billboard campaign.

The campaign is drawing attention to farmers’ concerns about the sale of good farmland to forestry interests around the region.

Billboards have gone up at Matawai, Muriwai, Makorori, Waipaoa and Wairoa.

“Keep provinces for Kiwis, people and birds, not wall-to-wall wood,” the billboards read. “The right tree, right place.”

Ms Holland said farmers were choosing to sell their farms on the open market and it might be better to ask and understand why?

“Farming and forestry are key parts of our region, not just the economy but the fabric of our way of life,” she said.

“Land use will change over time as it responds to prevailing economic indicators. This generally results in land being used for whatever is most profitable at the time.”

Ms Holland said there had been large conversions in land use over the years either in or out of forestry — the most recent of those being forestry into dairy near Taupo.

“Carbon farming and the billion trees programme provide opportunities for farmers to utilise portions of their farm that are not economical for livestock to provide an income and also offset their methane emissions,” said Ms Holland.

“It does not necessarily need to be all forestry, or all farming, but a blend of both,” she said.

“EWC supports the principle of highest and best use of land and the freedom of choice of landowners to utilise their land to their best advantage.

“And also we do support the message ‘the right tree, right place’.”