New Zealand map

New Zealand is an island nation in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses—that of the North Island, or Te Ika-a-Māui, and the South Island, or Te Waipounamu—and numerous smaller islands. New Zealand's geographic isolation and island biogeography has influenced evolution of the country's species of animals, fungi and plants. About 82% of New Zealand's indigenous vascular plants are endemic, covering 1,944 species across 65 genera and includes a single endemic family. The two main types of forest are those dominated by broadleaf trees with emergent podocarps, or by southern beech in cooler climates. The remaining vegetation types consist of grasslands, the majority of which are tussock. Before the arrival of humans an estimated 80% of the land was covered in forest, with only high alpine, wet, infertile and volcanic areas without trees. Massive deforestation occurred after humans arrived, with around half the forest cover lost to fire after Polynesian settlement. Much of the remaining forest fell after European settlement, being logged or cleared to make room for pastoral farming, leaving forest occupying only 23% of the land. Since human arrival almost half of the country's vertebrate species have become extinct, including at least fifty-one birds, three frogs, three lizards, one freshwater fish, and one bat. Others are endangered or have had their range severely reduced. However, New Zealand conservationists have pioneered several methods to help threatened wildlife recover, including island sanctuaries, pest control, wildlife translocation, fostering, and ecological restoration of islands and other selected areas. (Wikipedia)

Quick Facts

Land use

Total land area
26,331,000 hectares
Area of forest
38.6% of land area
Area of agriculture
42.2% of land area
Area of permanent cropland
0.3% of land area


4.6 million
Population growth
1.9% annually
Rural population

Economics and development

GDP per person
37808.00 USD

Climate change and biodiversity

CO2 emissions
7.60 metric tonnes per person
Threatened animal and plant species
National Restoration Targets
Total restoration target
527,000 hectares
National Forest and/or Climate Strategy and/or Low Carbon Development Strategy
NZIF National Policy on Forestry (2001)
  • Forestry practices should:
    • Ensure the nation-wide sustainability of forest resources, while addressing at the same time the need to meet the desired forest outcomes of regional communities;
    • Recognise the multiple-uses and values of forests;
    • Satisfy the requirements set out in national legislation pertaining to forestry and in international agreements to which New Zealand is a signatory.
New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets (2015)
  • About Our Targets – New Zealand will meet its responsibility targets through a mix of domestic emissions reductions, the removal of carbon dioxide by forests and participation in international carbon markets.
Sustainable Management of New Zealand’s Forests (2015)
  • The New Zealand Government’s policy approach to primary sector management is cross-sector or landscape-based, with a focus on balancing environmental and economic outcomes. The cross-sector and effects-based approach to resource management means a forest policy is not considered appropriate by the Government (p. 178).
Restoration target
27,000 hectares
New Zealand’s Second Biennial Report under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (2015)
  • As a Party to the Kyoto Protocol, New Zealand is completing activity-based reporting for the period 2013–2020 under Article 3.3 of the Kyoto Protocol for afforestation, reforestation and deforestation, and forest management under Article 3.4 of the Kyoto Protocol (p. 13).
  • Summary of key variables and assumptions used in the projections analysis (p. 50):
    • Afforestation (ha/year)
      • 2010: 6,966 ha
      • 2011: 13,699 ha
      • 2015: 3,000 ha
    • Projected Afforestation
      • 2020: 10,000 ha
      • 2025: 15,000 ha
      • 2030: 15,000 ha 
  • Afforestation – The midpoint new planting projections assume a gradual increase from around 3,000 ha/year in 2014 to around 15,000 ha/year in the 2020s (p. 125)
New Zealand’s Sixth National Communication (6NC) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol (2013)
  • New Zealand has four principle measures that promote afforestation and provide incentives to maintain forests:
    • NZ Emissions Trading Scheme
    • Permanent Forest Sink Initiative
    • East Coast Forestry Project
    • Afforestation Grant Scheme
  • More details about these projects are provided below:
    • New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (NZETS) – New Zealand’s main policy instrument to encourage afforestation and reduce deforestation. The forestry sector entered the NZ ETS in 2008, and around 61 per cent of forest planted after 1989 have been voluntarily registered. The majority of land owners with forest planted before 1990 face deforestation liabilities under the NZ ETS if they deforest (p. 91).
    • Permanent Forest Sink Initiative – promotes establishment of permanent forests on land without forests before 1990. As of 2013, 18,000 ha have entered the program with a majority being regenerating indigenous forest (p. 91)
    • East Coast Forestry Project – The project aims to encourage treatment of 60,000 ha of severely eroding or erodible land [in Gisborne district in New Zealand]. Around 40,000 ha of forest have been planted as a result of this project [since 1992] (p. 92). [Subsequent to the 6NC, this has been renamed Erosion Control Funding Programme.]
    • Afforestation Grant Scheme – So far 12,500 ha of land have been established under this Scheme [2008-2013] (p. 92).
Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Country Profiles – NBSAPs, National Reports (5th)
New Zealand National Biodiversity Strategy: 2000-2020 (2000)
  • The New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy…takes up the challenge to halt the decline of our indigenous biodiversity — our unique plants and animals and the places they live.
  • The purpose of the Strategy is to establish a strategic framework for action, to conserve and sustainably use and manage New Zealand’s biodiversity.
  • The Strategy contains four goals: Goal One: i) Enhance community/individual understandings about biodiversity, and inform, motivate and support the community to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity; and ii) enable communities/individuals to share responsibility and benefits from the use of indigenous genetic resources; Goal Two: Actively protect indigenous people’s interests in indigenous biodiversity, and build/strengthen partnerships between government agencies, iwi and hapu in conserving and sustainably using  indigenous biodiversity; Goal Three: Halt the decline in New Zealand’s indigenous biodiversity; Goal Four: Maintain the genetic resources of introduced species that are important for economic, biological and cultural reasons by conserving their genetic diversity.
Fifth National Report to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity 2009-2013 (2009)
United Nation Forum on Forests (UNFF) National Reports
Voluntary National Report to the 11th Session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (2014)
  • Part 1, Q6: Since 2007, what activities has your government undertaken to reverse the loss of forest cover and/or to enhance the area and quality of forests?  
    • Afforestation = 40,000 ha. [2007-2014] (p. 10)
Other (National Strategies and Plans, Rural Development Programs, Natura 2000 areas, projects, and goals)
Restoration target
500,000 hectares
Restoring Places (2016)
  • Project Kākā: area under control 22,000 ha; activity type – invasive mammalian pest control. Tararua Nature Recovery – 10-year [2010-2020] forest restoration initiative in the Tararua Forest Park (p. 1). The goal is to restore forest and wildlife values in the Tararua Forest Park using kākā—New Zealand’s endangered forest parrot and a rangatira of forest birds for Māori—as the flagship species...Control of rodents, stoats and possums should also benefit other birds, lizards, invertebrates and forest plants that are heavily browsed by possums (p. 2).
  • Operation Ark: area treated 197,000 ha and 97 km river; activity type – invasive mammalian pest control. This is a flagship multi-species protection programme led by the Department of Conservation from 2004 to 2010. The programme was launched in response to devastating rat and stoat plagues in South Island beech forests that caused the rapid decline of species such as mohua and parakeets. The primary purpose of Operation Ark was to ensure the long-term survival and sustainability of key native species on the mainland.  The programme refined and expanded pest control techniques. Funding is now provided directly to the sites, or placed in a new contingency pool overseen by the Department of Conservation’s South Island Pest Response Advisory Group.
  • Aongatete Forest Restoration Trust: area treated 500 ha; activity type –pest control. The Aongatete Forest Restoration Trust carries out pest control within the Kaimai Mamaku Conservation Park near Katikati.
  • Rotoehu Ecological Trust: area treated 749 ha; invasive mammalian pest control. The Trust is a dedicated group helping protect the Pongakawa Ecological Area and its inhabitants, primarily the North Island kōkako, but also the forest as a whole. This 749 ha area…plays an important role in the ecological corridor concept which provides a native forest pathway for species to move between inland areas and the coast.  
  • Kia Wharite Restoration Project: The project area is home to…the second largest stand of lowland indigenous forest in the North Island. The project began in 2008, and over the next 10 years, it is expected the following will have occurred:  the entire project area (180,000 ha) will be under possum and rat control, and receiving pest plant control; 35,000 ha receiving goat control; 50km of the Retaruke and Manganui o te Ao Rivers will be protected from stoats and cats; a large number of privately owned bush remnants and wetlands in the project area will be fenced to prevent stock access; significantly increase kiwi, blue duck and other wildlife numbers and improve forest health.
  • Pest Control in Warawara Forest: This is the second large scale pest control operation in Warawara using sodium fluoroacetate (1080) as part of Warawara Restoration Project - an ongoing pest management plan vital to the long-term survival and protection of this forest. Plans for mammalian pest control over 13,321 ha in Warawara, which includes 6,755 ha of conservation land and 6,566 ha of privately owned land.
  • Bushy Point Restoration Project: area 90 ha; activity type invasive mammalian pest control and replanting of species. The Otatara Landcare Group is attempting to return the exotic back to native by undertaking a 50-100 year restoration programme at Bushy Point.  The group aims to turn Bushy Point into a self-sustaining eco-system and provide you with natural features such as wetlands, native plants and birds to enjoy and appreciate.
  • Coal Island Restoration Plan: area 1163 ha; activity type invasive mammalian pest control, with planned native species reintroductions over time including birds, reptiles and plants. The island has been the focus of a restoration programme...since 2004. At 1,189 ha, Coal Island is large enough to provide habitat for self-sustaining or managed populations of a wide range of threatened species. The relatively unmodified forest, as well as freshwater and coastal habitats, offer a range of possibilities for recovery and translocation of various species. 
Ministry for Primary Industries: Forestry (2016)
The New Zealand Emission Trading Scheme Review 2015/16 Discussion Document (2015)
  • The NZ ETS is intended to encourage carbon removals through forestry by incentivising afforestation and re-planting, and discouraging deforestation (p. 11). There is evidence that the higher emission unit prices in the first few years of the NZ ETS influenced new forest planting decisions and reduced net greenhouse gas emissions below business as usual emissions. There is uncertainty over the exact amount of reductions caused by carbon pricing, compared to other economic factors (p. 38).
Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord (2015)
  • Sets out the dairy industry’s commitment to New Zealand and improving water quality. It includes commitments to targeted riparian planting plans where it would provide a water quality benefit (p. 6).
FLR Assessments

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