FORESTRY

New wood availability forecasts for the Hawke’s Bay will inform regional planning

Thursday 14 February 2008, 3:06PM
By Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry
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HAWKE'S BAY

New wood availability forecasts for the Hawke’s Bay compiled by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) will assist with future regional planning for the forest industry and provide infrastructure agencies with credible data for future planning, says John Vaney, Regional Team Leader with MAF Policy in Rotorua.

The forecasts indicate the availability of radiata pine from the Hawke’s Bay will remain relatively static over the next decade, aside from short-term fluctuations based on market conditions.

The key implication of this forecast is that there are limited opportunities in the Hawke’s Bay to expand the harvest in the short term.

“We expect there will be a focus on improving processing efficiencies with the aim of utilising more of the volume produced within domestic sawmilling facilities”, says Bob Pocknall, Chairman of the Hawke’s Bay Forestry Group.

Beyond 2015, the forecasts indicate that an increase in wood availability is possible with the potential for the Hawke’s Bay regional harvest to increase from the current level of approximately 1.7 million cubic metres to around 3 million cubic metres per year after 2021.

Most of this increase in wood availability is expected to be from the small-scale forest growers who established forests during the 1990s. In the later part of the forecast period (post 2034) the total harvest is projected to decline. The forecasts are based on no new planting.

“The forecasts provide a clear signal that the transport infrastructure and harvesting capacity in the region will come under increasing pressure after 2015, and that some additional investment will be required before then. There will also be potential from that time for new wood processing investment or expansion of existing plants”, says Bob Pocknall.

MAF is currently finalising a report on the Hawke’s Bay Forestry Industry, in association with the Hawke’s Bay Forestry Group and the major growers and processors in the region. This report will include the wood availability forecasts along with descriptions of the region’s forests, wood processing industries and infrastructure. The report, available in June, will describe the opportunities and constraints facing the forest industry in the region. This report is expected to be available in June.

The wood availability forecasts are also available online at:

http://www.maf.govt.nz/mafnet/publications/wood-availability/hawkes-bay/  

Background on the Hawke’s Bay forestry sector
There is a well-established forest growing industry in the Hawke’s Bay Region (Wairoa, Hastings and Central Hawke’s Bay Districts and Napier City).
Radiata pine makes up nearly 98 percent (129,000 hectares) of the forest area, Douglas-fir less than 1 percent (1,000 hectares) and there are nearly 2000 hectares of other exotic hardwood and softwood species in the Hawke’s Bay Region.
There are three large growers in the region, and a number of smaller growers that are attracted by the good tree growing conditions, developed infrastructure and access to an export port.
Currently the industry is affected by a tight domestic market for timber, high shipping costs for export logs and an exchange rate at higher than desirable levels. There is also strong demand for labour, meaning a shortage of people to work in a variety of forestry jobs.