The One Billion Trees Fund has just hit two significant milestones that will create more than 7,500 hectares of new forest cover, Forestry Minister Shane Jones says.
Speaking at a celebratory dinner at Parliament to mark 100 years of the New Zealand Forestry Service, Minister Jones said the One Billion Trees Fund was helping put forestry back on the map.
The Fund offers direct grants to landowners for planting and regeneration projects, as well as partnership funding to co-fund projects that aim to reduce the barriers to tree planting.
“We launched the Fund late last year and I’m pleased with the progress we’re making,” Shane Jones said.
“We’ve now approved more than 170 funding grants worth more than $15 million.
“I’m particularly delighted that eight of these approvals are for Māori Freehold Land, where the $1.7 million allocated will see planting cover almost 1,000 hectares.
“We know that growing the right trees, in the right place, for the right purpose will help build resilient ecosystems and help us deliver our climate change objectives.”
The grants approved to date reflect an exciting range of initiatives, the length and breadth of the country.
“For example, on Stewart Island we’re supporting the planting of some 20 hectares of seaward facing former hill country farmland to regenerate as native forest, providing penguin habitat.
“In Taranaki we’ve signed a contract with New Zealand Green School, a new school set to open early next year and committed to educating for sustainability. They expect to plant up to 40 hectares, of which about 75 per cent will be native species.
“And a key component of the grants is to provide funding for farmers to integrate trees onto their land to improve productivity, for example retiring unproductive land through trees, and help diversify their income,” Shane Jones said.
The grant scheme is in addition to the Crown Forestry joint ventures, which are also contributing to the One Billion Trees goal.
“There are currently 33 forestry joint ventures covering 19,446 hectares with 17.5 million trees to be planted. Almost 13 million seedlings have been planted since the scheme started in 2018,” Shane Jones said.
Notes to editors:
The estimated value of Crown investment to date is $194 million. Of this around 10,300 ha (53 per cent) is on Māori-owned land (Māori title or land owned by a Post Settlement Governance Entity).