Aotearoa must be much more ambitious in our target for native forest restoration
In its submission to the Climate Commission’s draft recommendations to Government, The Tindall Foundation has highlighted the need for New Zealand to be far more ambitious in our target for native forest restoration, using an evidence-based approach.

Native forests are important, not simply for carbon sequestration, but also for the substantial co-benefits they provide, including environmental and cultural ecosystem services and economic resilience.

We believe that, by 2035, our aim should be that the 1m ha of erosion prone land identified by Te Uru Rakau as being only suitable for new permanent forest, is covered in native forests. A combination of planting and assisted regeneration using science-based approaches is required, and capacity across the native forestry sector is essential.

Scaling is needed to achieve that target and will require co-ordination of knowledge, activities, resources and planning in areas such as silviculture, land identification, nursery capacity, workforce development, pest control and fencing – and these should be priority areas of action now.

Native forests can be managed to be economically self-sustaining. It is crucial that financial incentives are in place for those establishing and managing native forests. This includes making native forestry a rational and low-risk land use and investment choice.

We are proud to have funded many organisations working to mitigate climate change including, Trees that Count, Tane’s Tree Trust, EDS, Great South, Climate Change Iwi Leaders Group and Ngāti Kuri among others.

TTF also supports deployment of systems and infrastructure needed for alternative farming systems and products. We believe that regenerative farming is needed and we have supported several initiatives to promote the benefits of this approach, notably Pure Advantage’s ‘Our Regenerative Future campaign and ‘Calm The Farm’.

While TTF agrees that more research and evidence is needed, many regenerative approaches have been in place in Aotearoa NZ for decades and can be implemented now. Increased investment in information and data on alternative farming practices and their effectiveness would be useful.

In the submission we also point out that seaweeds are being increasingly recognised for their value in providing important ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration and nutrient capture, which could assist with combatting climate change. TTF is supporting Envirostrat to carry out research to develop the Greenwave Regenerative Farming Model and seaweed hatchery and trial farms.

The rapid growth of some species of seaweed means that farming on marine structures or restoring kelp forests could be a more time-effective solution to reducing carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere, even than planting trees

TTF fully supports the need for coordination across Government departments and agencies, and for the roles, expectations, and accountability mechanisms in relation to addressing climate change to be clearly set out.

Most importantly we need to act now to avoid pushing the burden of climate change to future generations.

In summary, TTF also supports:

a.       Respecting the rangatiratanga and kaitiakitanga responsibilities of Maori and including mātauranga Maori in all mitigation and reduction efforts.

b.       Being more ambitious with native forestry targets, using an evidence-based approach.

c.       The development of incentives for more native tree plantations, including for native forestry but within a continuous cover, ‘close to nature’ approach.

d.       A shift to a regenerative agricultural model for farming in Aotearoa.

f. Further large-scale development of the seaweed industry in Aotearoa as a potential source of blue carbon storage.

g. A just transition for all.

h. Coordination across political parties and Government agencies.