forestry — August, 2021

The first ground is broken

This month marked a major milestone in the Riparian native restoration project at Aratu Forest in Tairāwhiti with the first trees going in the ground. The project aims to plant millions of permanent native trees throughout the working forest estate over the coming years.

Aratu Forests’ Chief Executive, Neil Woods, says: “With the full support of our Shareholders and Board, we are investing in this initiative because it is the right thing to do, and stands to deliver long-term benefits for the environment, the community and our company”.

Throughout the year Aratu and eLandNZ will work together to identify new areas within the forest that will be returned to their natural state through the process of intensive native planting.

In addition to increasing biodiversity within the forest, the native planting will also help protect waterways from slash, silt and debris that may result from future harvesting of the adjacent plantation forest.

This year’s planting encountered a few delays caused by lockdowns and extreme bad weather. However, the sun shone bright at the start of September enabling work to proceed. A team of 30 local planters from Logic Forest Solutions met early on day one for a Karakia before heading out into their allocated planting areas. The crew continued throughout the month, completing the first 60 hectares of planting.

The planting was overseen by eLandNZ Managing Director Sheldon Drummond who was delighted with the efficiency and enthusiasm of the team. “The planters were genuinely pleased to be working on this project as they saw the long-term benefits for the local environment and felt this was a great initiative from the commercial forestry industry.” stated Drummond.

Planning is already underway for next year’s planting and to ensure the success of the project from an environmental perspective, SCION is assisting with research to monitor and measure results.

Aratu Forests Ltd and eLandNZ Ltd are extremely grateful for the support and assistance of the local and regional council, iwi, contractors and SCION who are all integral in bringing this initiative to life.