Thursday, 29 August 2019 14:55

More farmland goes in to trees

Written by  Pam Tipa
Lagoon Hill Station. Lagoon Hill Station.

A large foreign-financed but New Zealand owned investment company has brought a big station in the Wairarapa for forestry development.

Social, employment and environmental sustainability issues will be included in plans to ensure a stable local rural community, it claims.

Kauri Forestry LP, a forestry business built, managed and governed by Craigmore Sustainables, has purchased Lagoon Hills Station in Wairarapa.

Lagoon Hills Station has 1400ha of existing Pinus radiata forest and 2,000ha of effective pasture for farming sheep and beef.

Craigmore Sustainables will plant at least a further 1300ha of hill country into forest, leaving an operational farm of 500-600ha. “Kauri Forestry LP is a forestry business built and managed by us with European partners who are committed to being long-term passive investors with sustainability objectives,” says Che Charteris, Craigmore Sustainables chief executive.

“Our partners in Kauri Forestry LP have more than 300 years of experience in multi-use sustainable forestry.”

Lagoon Hills will be managed under the global forest management benchmark of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certification, he says.

“FSC Certification provides a robust global framework for forest management and for social and environmental governance.”

The company aims to gain FSC Certification for the Lagoon Hills property within the first 36 months of ownership, which will require upskilling of the appointed local forest management company.

“However, as New Zealand governors, we will go much further than FSC and operate Lagoon Hills at an even higher standard.”

Craigmore claims it has developed a blueprint to improve Lagoon Hills. This includes better integrating forestry and farming by retaining 500-600 ha of the property around the woolshed and buildings in farming, continuing to farm other areas as the remaining area is planted over 2-3 years, as well as making the forested areas available for livestock grazing once the trees are well-established.

It claims social benefits will be enhanced by spreading forest management and harvesting activities over longer time periods in order to provide for more stable and local fulltime employment opportunities.

The company also plan to protect and enhance biodiversity and freshwater quality by establishing 30m wide native plantings alongside permanent waterways that run through the property and rehabilitate degraded wetlands. It says this will require approximately 60,000 to 100,000 native trees to be planted.

Craigmore hopes to also reduce the risk of post-harvest erosion by spreading harvesting over longer time periods and wider areas.

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