In New Zealand, where the sheep outnumber humans 9 to 1 and National Lamb Day is celebrated every Feb. 15, a carbon emission trading system that kicked off in July is upending the economics of sheep farming, a once crucial sector of the economy. Sheep farmers are walking away from the business of selling wool and lamb chops and are converting their grazing lands into tree farms that could prove valuable when the country's agricultural sector is forced to pay for greenhouse gas emissions starting in 2015.
The much maligned Emissions Trading Scheme can provide even the owners of small forest blocks with a bonus return, if they make the effort to find out, as Peter Watson reports.
Owners of hundreds of small forestry blocks planted in Nelson before 1990 have been warned they risk either being surprised by some large bills or missing out on a one-off windfall if they don't get up to speed soon with the Emissions Trading Scheme.
Tucked away on the bottom of the world, New Zealand is showing bigger developed nations how its done when it comes to tackling greenhouse-gas emissions and climate change. The first jurisdiction outside Europe to take the plunge on a nation-wide mandatory carbon pricing scheme, New Zealand has gone a long way to tackling the political and economic challenges of fundamental low-carbon reform that have bedevilled the US, Canada, Japan and Australia.
Foreign-owned "carbon foresters" have ambitions to turn a fifth of New Zealand sheep and beef farmland into forests and that will devastate many rural towns, the national farmers' lobby says.
Federated Farmers president Don Nicolson said the organisation strongly believed that farm forestry was integral to farms where suited. This made the government's axing of the Afforestation Grants Scheme (AGS) in preference to the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) "incredibly perplexing".
Chinese wood deficit good news for NZ wood exporters
China’s potential fibre-supply gap (the difference between total demand and total domestic supply) is projected to reach approximately 150 million m3 (roundwood equivalent) by 2015 - or a volume that is more than the entire Canadian timber harvest in 2009 - a strong indication that China’s wood imports must continue to rise in the short- to medium-term period to match with projected consumption reports International WOOD Markets Group,.
NZ forestry production and trade data for the March 2010 quarter is now available on the web. Details can be found at address below*. Key points - compared with the same quarter of the previous year (March 2009) are;
April 2010 was a month where record volumes of pinus radiata logs were shipped out of New Zealand. The vast majority were headed for Asia where other suppliers such as the USA and Canada, are also ramping up supply.
THE Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) presents unique opportunities for many rural landowners in New Zealand; carbon forestry will allow landowners to use the scheme to their advantage and gain a new income stream.
Marginal farmland throughout the country can be converted into forestry and as long as any conversions are undertaken in an informed manner, landowners potentially have a lot to gain.