Carbon Farming with Pines Bad for Environment

The following press release of the Environmental Defence Society was made in February last year when the “price of carbon had soared to over $60 per tonne.”. The price of carbon is currently at $76 per tonne.
The Environmental Defence Society (EDS) is calling for an urgent reset of New Zealand’s Emissions Trading Scheme because of the way it is driving a massive expansion of carbon farming across landscapes. The price of carbon has now soared to over $60 per tonne.
“Vast swathes of the countryside are being bought up by foreign companies for conversion to large scale pine plantations, principally driven by the increasing price of carbon. This is a perverse and unwanted outcome driven by short-term expediency,” said EDS CEO Gary Taylor.
“It is important to sequester carbon but it’s also important to continue sustainable farming and food production on suitable land.
“Pine forests provide poor habitat, are a biosecurity and fire risk, produce massive slugs of sediment that pollute rivers, streams and estuaries at harvest and degrade landscape values at an industrial scale.
He described it as “a  blinkered response to the need for short-term sequestration”. There is need for a home-grown solution to the conundrum. Many of the large-scale conversions are foreign investors whereas most Māori landowners are looking to indigenous forests as the preference.
Biodiversity Crisis
A robust response to climate change is important said Gary Taylor. However there is a biodiversity crisis as well, internationally and in New Zealand. 
In New Zealand there are over 4000 native species of plants and animals at risk of extinction. 
“That is another crisis that cannot be ignored.”
An enlightened approach is needed. Where land is converted to forests, there is a need to incentivise permanent native forests which will sequester more carbon over time than exotics, restore lost habitat, lower fire, and biosecurity risks, reduce sediment runoff and significantly enhance landscape and biodiversity. Native forests are New Zealand’s unique solution.
To prevent the tragedy of many thousands of hectares being lost to plantation forestry, there is an urgent need to join-up policy solutions which embrace climate, biodiversity and food production imperatives.
“The way to do that is to either adjust the ETS settings to create a premium price for natives or create a parallel incentive program to create a hybrid biodiversity and carbon farming package. There is an urgent need to make progress here.”
The final part of a policy shift should be to tighten up the rules governing plantation harvesting. 
Sediment is the biggest pollutant. Yet New Zealand’s present regulatory settings allow 19th century methods of harvesting – large-scale clear felling when other countries require coupe or compartmental harvesting to reduce environmental impacts. 
“A fix there would require commercial forestry to meet its full environmental costs and responsibilities and further shift the dial towards permanent natives with their vastly superior outcomes,” said Gary Taylor.
, Carbon Farming with Pines Bad for Environment
Gary Taylor – “pine forests poor habitat”



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7 Responses to Carbon Farming with Pines Bad for Environment

  1. Jack Tuawhaiki says:

    Carbon trading is aimed at the wrong target – it doesn’t address global warming if that is to be believed.
    Carbon trading is organised around keeping the wheels on the fossil fuel industry going. Carbon trading issues numerical emissions budgets and by trading makes it easy for them to carry on emitting within those budgets.
    Big bureaucracies are created to measure and monitor and manage the “system”.
    Add in wilding pines spread, loss of biodiversity, increased runoff from pines, acidification of soils and acidic runoff—- and a few other ill effects.
    Carbon trading is pandering to wealthy speculators.

  2. Iconoclast says:

    How to solve the environmental crisis of climate change……Destroy productive food land, the environment and small rural communities with pine monocultures which attract 16 years worth of carbon credits for overseas investors who then walk away on year 17 leaving the trees to fall down and rot and……release every ounce of carbon they sequestered.

    As our productive land is replaced by forestry we now rely on a global food supply chain and when the next war/pandemic/tsunami happens and global trade shrinks and dries up we all starve to death.

    Really smart NZ. Brilliant. And we elect you clowns.

  3. Predator Pete says:

    There is a lot of sense in these comments.
    In the US where public land is logged there must be a margin left unlogged that is twice the distance of the highest trees.
    The Marlborough Sounds and Tologa Bay are graphic examples of poor practice with plantation forests.
    Just like factory farming – private profit/public pollution.

  4. Jim Hilton says:

    Carbon Trading is an international Financial Hoax (Scam) designed to make Corporates rich at our expense. It rides on the back of climate change alarmism, another international hoax. I was lucky enough to be given a copy of Ian Plimer’s book “Heaven and Earth – Global Warming, the Missing Science” several years ago. Published in 2009 its 504 pages explain how todays changes in climate are less than those of the past. The popular political view that humans change climate is completely debunked with over 2,300 references to scientific literature. Ian Plimer describes Al Gore’s book and movie An Inconvenient Truth as long on scientific misrepresentations. Al Gore and others have made millions out of this financial scam using simple alarmism and propaganda.

    • Charlie Baycroft says:

      Hey Jim

      You can’t say things like that because it might reveal that our “emperors” are not wearing any clothes.

      Jacinda (I am the source of all truth) Ardern says that “climate change” is the most important issue we face and anyone who dares to question that is spreading “disinformation”.

      Be careful because our political and financial elites have decided that disinformation is their game and the rest of us are not allowed to play.

      How dare you disagree with climate authorities like Greta Thunberg and the “consensus” of climate scientists who predicated that we would all be under water by now?

      The real problem with rationally and objectively processing unbiased data is that it is boring and people much prefer scary stories in which self appointed “heroes” are getting rich and famous by saving us all from Armageddon.

      Does it really matter whether climate change is a crisis or not when believing in the story will justify everyone buying lots of new “green” stuff and the owners of the global corporations will become even more obscenely rich from selling that stuff?

      Ultimately it will all seem worthwhile because the warming cycle will end and a cooling one will begin as has always happenned.

      Of course the response to the climate change crisis will then have to be directed to warming it up again.

      Important members of our species can now control the global climate.
      What could possibly go wrong?

  5. Simon says:

    I totally agree with the writer. In NZ, we have planted pine forests on steep faces above rivers. When these plantations are logged the sediment and waste drops into the rivers to the detriment of all wildlife and river-users downstream. The ‘slash’ congests the river mouths causing flooding and further silt build up. We have ignored this for decades. Here in the Taranaki, I am terrified that my beloved Awakino River (strictly speaking, in the Waikato region, but still claimed as part of the Taranaki) will be destroyed when the huge plantings above the river are logged.

  6. Frank Henry says:

    You are so right Simon and there’s more apart from runoff of silt and slash debris to rivers. Pines are extra thirsty sucking up far far more water than native vegetation. Streams run dry in summer as a result. River flws are reduced.Pines as a monoculture discourage bio-diversity and acidify the soil and water, bad news for freshwater ecosystems. Then there’s wilding pine spread.

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