Tree planting grants available for farmers

Malcolm Darlison.
Malcolm Darlison.
Farmers are able to apply for grants to subsidise their tree planting programmes through the One Billion Trees initiative, which was launched in November.

Ministry of Primary Industries' land management implementation adviser Malcolm Darlison, of Invercargill, was speaking at the Beef + Lamb New Zealand and South Otago Farm Forestry Association's field day on Simon and Joanna Davies' Toko Mouth farm recently.

He said MPI's Te Uru Rakau Forestry New Zealand had set up a three-year grant scheme as part of the new programme.

''It has simple eligibility criteria with simple flexible funding options,'' Mr Darlison said.

''Applications are accepted all year round, and they aim for about a two-month turnaround for the process.''

The new initiative replaces the Afforestation Grant Scheme, which is no longer accepting applications.

''The Government wants to encourage indigenous planting as well as natural regeneration from local seed sources.''

He said land-owner applicants, whether individuals, or in partnership with non-government organisations, companies, and other entities, could apply for funding.

Applicants must be legally allowed to plant on the land, and not have been part of any other scheme.

''Criteria includes planting species that must reach 5m [or more] at maturity.''

''They can also use a mixture of other plants and shrubs to help act as a nursery for seedlings coming through.''

The Government developed the programme to increase current rates of tree planting to reach at least one billion trees during the next 10 years.

It is funded by the Provincial Growth Fund, which is designed to realise the economic potential of the regions in New Zealand.

The grant programme is intended to encourage landowners to plant more native and exotic trees, which will in turn create more employment and workforce development, as well as optimise land use, encourage biodiversity, mitigate climate change, support Maori values and aspirations, protect the environment, mitigate erosion and slip control, develop shelterbelts, protect wetlands and support New Zealand's transition to a low emissions economy.

Farmers can apply to plant multiple areas in one application, but each area must be at least one hectare.

Grants range from $1000 to $4000 per hectare, based on the type of planting and size of area.

In addition there are top-up grants for regeneration programmes, fencing, and planting in high risk areas.

More information is available on www.mpi.govt.nz/funding-and-programmes/forestry/planting-one-billion-trees

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