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Blog 10 - One Billion Trees – by Ben Gaia, www.dialatree.co.nz

What to grow and how to produce them:?

“We shall plant one billion trees”, says the new Government. This praiseworthy aim in reality means doubling the tree number we plant each year in New Zealand, for ten years. We need to produce 50 million more young trees per year. This could be done the old fashioned way, with a new State Tree Nursery established. It should be split between several sites, at least one in Canterbury and one in Rotorua, and should include a Polytechnic or Forestry School. Three thousand new students would be paid a wage, to learn forestry and silviculture, and to grow their 17,000 trees each per year. This would double the country's young tree production and add 500 million trees to those projected over the next ten years. Because all the state DOC and Forest Service nurseries were sold off or abandoned, the “market” means there is no sudden capacity to double production without some guarantee of future purchase, at an agreed price of $2 to $3 per tree. A centralised government order for 50 million trees, of say five different species, would indicate a secure base for state investment in a large nursery or several nursery sites, for a ten year period. The remaining or existing half of the tree market would continue to be produced as it is now, by the private sector.

Which five species?

Obviously the improved GF super plus Radiata pines would be one species. But we need to take the bold step of elbowing pines aside into only 20% of our forest estate. We need to invest much more energy into better quality timber trees, that stay up in high winds: Redwoods, Cypresses, and Oaks. And we need to promote a sturdy native timber, easily propagated and equally wind proof: I suggest the Mountain Totara.

That is what we should plant and how to achieve it: 10 million more baby trees of each species, each year, starting today, with a firm order from the new Ministry of Forestry.

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