Less pine, more permanent natives! Rethink the Billion Trees Project.

This petition made change with 3,359 supporters!

We want indigenous species to be at least half of the trees grown in the next ten years under the Billion Trees Project

And we want stricter controls on the exotic forestry industry to protect soil from erosion and waterways from harvest slash.  

As Minister of Forestry and Minister of Regional Economic Development, Hon. Shane Jones has committed New Zealand to planting a billion trees between 2018 and 2027.

500 million of these trees have already been planned to be planted by the forestry industry, mostly replacing pine trees they are going to harvest over the next ten years.

Pine harvesting creates a range of serious environmental problems - particularly erosion and slash debris that are carried into waterways clogging streams, rivers and beaches with massive impacts on water life along with other risks like flooding. The National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry spent many years being designed and reviewed and came into effect on 1 May 2018, but they are not strong enough to prevent planting and harvesting on steep, erosion-prone land. Regional councils and central government need to ensure soils and waterways are protected better. 

At present only 13% of trees to be planted under the Billion Trees Project are indigenous species, most of these will be Mānuka. The government has a huge opportunity to create economic opportunities for rural communities by investing more in permanent native bush regeneration that includes sustainable and selective harvesting of native species rather than clear-felling.

This option will be better for the land, better for waterways, better for biodiversity, better for the climate and NZ's international obligations, better for economic development by producing unique, high value natural products rather than high volume, low value commodities that create huge roading costs let alone CO2 emissions, erosion and massive slash problems.

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The slash in the photo (taken 4 June 2018 by Tolaga Bay Area School and shared via Facebook) is at a site that has a recent history of similar ecological disasters caused by the forestry industry (that continues to minimise both their responsibility and the environmental impacts of their activities). 

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