New Zealand city replacing tree plantation with native forest to restore water quality

The Turitea Reserve near Palmerston North (New Zealand) is the city’s main water catchment area. It’s now going to be returned to its native condition.

The city council’s finance and performance committee has recommended harvesting two blocks of pine forest in the reserve and encouraging native vegetation to regenerate.

The harvest of the two blocks, including the upgrade of access roads and their re-instatement, would cost just over $210,000.

That is expected to be more than recovered from the sale of logs, with a $279,000 surplus expected after paying the bills.

Encouraging native forest regeneration rather than replanting for commercial forestry was seen as a better way to manage the reserve.

Commercial forestry is not considered a perfect fit with the water supply activity,” the report said. “Achieving an economic return is very much secondary to the importance of the water supply activity.

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