Opportunity to improve environmental outcomes from forestry largely missed

Forest & Bird has lodged a comprehensive submission on the Government’s proposed National Environmental Standard for Plantation Forestry (NESPF) today. The NESPF contains a suite of rules that would replace existing rules in District and Regional Plans. 

Forest & Bird’s submission highlights issues with sedimentation of our rivers, estuaries and coastlines, the threat of wilding conifers on our dry tussocklands like the Mackenzie Country, and impacts of harvesting on native forests adjoining forestry. 

“Although we support the concept of national standards to protect our natural environment, severe restrictions have been placed on Councils to plan for more sustainable forestry in their area.” says Forest & Bird Regional Conservation and Volunteer Manager, Debs Martin. 

“There is an over-reliance in the NESPF on the use of risk calculators, without appropriate site-specific safeguards to address impacts.  Forestry is permitted on highly erodible land, with forestry operators writing and monitoring their own management plans.  Councils need to be able to make changes to these plans where they are inadequate – and recover the costs of monitoring, otherwise monitoring just won’t happen”.

The NESPF has also been widely criticised for overriding communities’ ability to decide whether genetically modified organisms are permitted in their districts or not.  “Forest & Bird supports the ability for communities to decide that being GMO-free is more important to their community and environment,” Ms Martin said.

  • A copy of the submission can be viewed here.