Pilot 'trees and carbon' workshop proves popular

A pilot project helping farmers make the most of the One Billion Trees Fund has generated a lot of interest.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand ran a series of workshops in the central South Island this month called ''Farms, Trees and Carbon''.

Experts from Wairarapa forestry and marginal land use advisory and management company Woodnet presented an overview of global warming and New Zealand's commitment to reducing greenhouse gases.

Then they discussed possibilities for plantings on attendees' land.

The workshops were popular and there has already been demand for more, BLNZ extension manager Laura Lake said.

Feedback from the first workshops would be built into subsequent ones.

''A lot of the attendees were interested in the riparian and indigenous funding, but also the poplar poles/willow planting. This is a reasonably newish concept to this area, with a lot of this done in the North Island.

''The workshop really is just an appetiser to the whole concept. People will receive an email leading them to more resources over the next week that will direct them to more information.

''Alternatively, I think people would head along to a consultant who would have more experience in this area. Some people have already approached me asking for a local consultant.''

The project arose from an idea from the BLNZ Central South Island Farmer Council that was developed by Alice Bradley from the environment team.

''We will look to develop a follow-on workshop that delves more into the detail,'' Miss Bradley said.

It was too early to say whether farm-forestry was enjoying a revival, ''but we are certainly seeing lots of interest''.

''Animal welfare is definitely an added benefit of planting trees, beyond the normal benefits that we tend to think of like erosion control and carbon sequestration.

''We definitely support the concept of the right tree in the right place for the right purpose. For some farms that might be plantation forestry, for others erosion control (e.g. poplar poles), or even enhancing biodiversity with native species.''

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