Native forest cover has many environmental benefits. An environmentally-sound, continuous-cover forest stewardship, is an appropriate land-use for much of Northland, and a successful tōtara industry will encourage planting more native trees on private land.
A huge resource of naturally regenerated tōtara is developing on farms and privately-owned land in Northland and some other regions too. It is not being valued by landowners as a potential source of income. Yet it provides environmental benefits such as water and soil conservation, biodiversity values, carbon sequestration, landscape and recreational values. But in many parts of Northland, tōtara grows like a weed and has been burnt and cleared to make way for pasture.
Native trees and forests need to be integrated with the farming landscape. But on private land money drives land use choices and practices. However, regenerating tōtara forests can be sustainably managed for both production and conservation objectives and benefits. Therefore, we want to promote sustainable native forestry as a productive and viable land use option on private land. We are not advocating for any commercial use of native forests on public conservation land.
Sustainable Forest Management is about managing a healthy eco-system for the long-term (for more information, see the Sustainable Management section). Regenerating tōtara in Northland is an opportunity to weave resilience into the production landscape and encourage more native forest.