The Northland tōtara initiative has been running for many years, based on the work of the project partners in exploring the idea of using regenerating farm-tōtara timber as the basis of a new industry. This project is a progression of that work.
There are over 200,000 hectares of native forest and scrub cover on private land in Northland. Regenerating tōtara is often the predominant tree species, yet this resource has largely been ignored, neglected and cleared, as it has not been seen as having any economic value to landowners.
There is excellent potential for sustainable management of tōtara stands according to studies and projects undertaken since 2001. Growth rates and productivity can be increased through thinning and pruning. Biodiversity levels change within these stands. Wood-quality, surveys of existing uses, market potential and financial viability have also been studied.
An opportunity exists for sustainable timber production at a commercial scale to create economic returns for landowners and support business growth and employment within the Northland region, as well as bringing about the many desirable environmental enhancements associated with native forest cover.
The Tōtara Industry Pilot (TIP) project will fill in information gaps to build a robust investment case.