Your KiwiSaver scheme has an interest in the Hapua Forest. 100,000 seedlings were planted this winter in the forest in the Hawkes Bay. This is the second of three plantings. Last year 62,500 seedlings were planted. Radiata pine is a versatile wood that’s easy to slice, mould, plane, glue, stain and paint. It is the world’s most widely planted softwood plantation tree and grows really well in New Zealand.

The 2019 planting happened over five days in winter and involved a crew of 36 on-site each day. The seedlings were around 30 cm tall at the time of planting. Depending on the terrain there were 750 to 950 planted on each hectare, and 117 hectares were planted. These seedlings will take up to 25 years to mature into trees for harvest.

The seedlings were provided by a family business that’s been around for decades. Growing their seedlings sustainably has been a focus for Murrays Nurseries Woodville since the nursery started. The business takes pride in investing heavily in research and development in a number of key areas to increase productivity while remaining environmentally conscious. Part of their research is into the reduction in the use of fungicides and fertilisers.

Because trees can store carbon, radiata pine plantations are useful ‘carbon sinks’. About 50% of the dry matter in the wood is carbon – largely cellulose (about 65%) and lignin (about 30%). Depending on growth rate and wood density, a hectare of pine trees locks up 4–7 tonnes of elemental carbon per year, which is equivalent to 15–26 tonnes of carbon dioxide absorbed from the atmosphere. A 1,000-hectare forest can absorb 15,000–26,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.

When burnt as fuel in a car engine, petrol releases 2.62 kilograms of carbon dioxide per litre. On this basis, a typical car produces 1 tonne of carbon dioxide for every 5,555 km driven or 3 tonnes for an average year’s driving (16,666 km). This is equivalent to the amount of carbon dioxide that 33–60 pine trees absorb in one year.

Read more about Hapua Forest in our February 2019 article.

The Encyclopaedia of New Zealand