Forest Enterprises Special Projects Director, Steve Wilton has been made a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Forestry (NZIF). The honour of Fellow is bestowed on a member who has been recognised by NZIF peers as having achieved eminence in the forestry profession.
This from Steve’s Fellow nomination:
Steve Wilton has 27 years of achievement in the forestry investment and forestry management business with Forest Enterprises. He is a strong and articulate advocate for the New Zealand forestry sector and an architect of accessible and professional forestry investment.
Steve has raised the profile of forestry and its significant economic and environmental benefits by being a passionate and tireless champion of many industry-good issues.
In the early 1990s, Steve championed the rehabilitation of what is now red zone Gisborne land into productive forestry in the wake of Cyclone Bola’s devastation of the region’s farmland, bolstered by the Government’s afforestation efforts.
Later, when New Zealand’s Emissions Trading Scheme was introduced, Steve collaborated with other industry players on the Kyoto Forestry Association to ensure that forest owners received carbon credits for carbon sequestered by their forests. This has created major financial gains for forest owners who were at risk of having an entitlement to carbon credits denied by the Government.
For the last decade, Steve has served New Zealand’s forestry sector. He has been a member of the Executive Council of the New Zealand Forest Owners Association and chaired the Fire Committee for a number of years; he is currently a member of the Association’s SME Committee. Steve was a foundation member of the Forest Growers Levy Establishment Board in 2013 serving as representative of small-scale growers, and in 2015 was re-elected to the Forest Growers Levy Trust Board, overseeing a programme approaching $10M of industry-good activities.
Steve is presently working with Inland Revenue Department on complex taxation issues affecting forest owners to give them more flexibility and efficiency in the way they can harvest by allowing amalgamations of forests.
When he joined Forest Enterprises in 1991 after 15 years in banking and finance, Steve brought a ‘fund manager’ philosophy to the company culture, developing the professionalism of forestry investment. This has made Forest Enterprises a leader in the industry. It now has over 6,600 individual investors which represents the largest organised group of forest advocates and stakeholders in New Zealand.
Steve led the introduction of major innovations which opened the way for forestry to become an affordable and integral part of a balanced investment portfolio. These innovative forestry investments ensured forestry attracted many more New Zealand investors. This, in turn, has encouraged more planting and created jobs for many participants in the industry including silviculture workers, logging crews, roading contractors and transport companies.
Under Steve’s leadership, and in keeping with the professional approach to managing forestry investment, Forest Enterprises has always maintained a professional staff of NZIF members at the company’s cost.
Steve has also ensured his business invested in industry-leading and cutting-edge forest management systems, such as the Atlas Geomaster stand record system, Tigermoth estate modelling, Scion forecaster and Arc GIS.
Read more about this year’s NZIF Honours