The National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry (NES-PF), resource consent conditions and district plan rules set the mandatory regulations for the environmental management of forestry activity, from planting to harvest. Industry best practice sets additional standards.
NES-PF’s requirements cover harvest planning, logging operations, design and placement of forest roads and log processing sites (landings), the management of harvest run-off, and the volume of forestry debris left on site.
Forestry practices are changing rapidly to mitigate adverse environmental effects on sensitive land.
Forest Enterprises develops catchment management plans as part of the harvest planning and Resource Consent application process. This includes ensuring the harvest creates a mosaic of age classes within each forest to minimise the risk. Harvest of some areas in the lower parts of each catchment is planned to be delayed providing protection to downstream neighbours and/or waterways. An additional option is to move harvest operations around the forest more often to reduce the total cut-over size in any given area. An outcome of these harvest management strategies is a longer harvest time frame.
We will implement additional natural and man-made slash management systems, and increase riparian strips (more of them, and wider). Alternative species such as Poplar, Willow and native species are present along riparian margins as they also provide the benefit of mitigating slash migration and sedimentation. Use of mechanised harvesting practices, such as remote-controlled tethered systems, helps reduce risk to the natural environment from harvest operations as well as to worker health and safety.
These are just a few of the many important management strategies implemented or planned.
Whilst there is a level of risk when harvesting, we remain positive that we have an excellent resource in terms of our contractor teams, staff and forestry assets; and with continued vigilance we can mitigate the effects and have continued very good environmental outcomes.