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Trees & Timber

Despite people’s perceptions of forestry in New Zealand, there is a wider range of possibilities than what we usually see.

Mainstream forestry in New Zealand generally involves single species stands of Radiata pine harvested by clearfelling large areas at a time.

It is a regime aimed at producing the highest volume of timber in the shortest time while meeting minimum density and strength requirements and then selling logs or lumber into a bulk commodity market. The nature of the product means that chemical treatment is often required before the timber is fit for use.


While this mainstream forest industry produces sufficient Radiata pine for both domestic consumption and export, there are very limited supplies of other New Zealand-grown timbers for more specialised uses.

New Zealander’s demand for specialty hardwoods and softwoods continues to increase. For decades we have imported large quantities of lumber and other timber products and these are increasing annually. A large proportion of the types of timber we currently import could actually be grown here and some already are.


There is an increasing demand for high quality feature timbers, veneers and naturally durable timbers for a range of uses. For example, macrocarpa timber (which has a durability rating equivalent to H3.1) is currently in high demand and short supply, and is commanding prices almost double that of radiata pine.

New Zealand grown timbers are part of our cultural heritage. New Zealander’s are passionate about having quality timbers in their homes and work environments provided it is from sustainably managed sources.


Tomorrow’s forests believes that New Zealanders will increasingly demand New Zealand grown timber, special purpose hardwoods and softwoods which are of high quality, chemical free, and from sustainably managed forests. Such timbers can be grown by different means:

  • Natural regenerated indigenous mixed species (natural forest). Planted indigenous mixed species (mimics natural forest)
  • Planted single species indigenous (eg. totara plantation)
  • Converting planted exotic species to indigenous forest or plantation
  • Planted exotic mix species (eg, Red alder with Douglas fir)
  • Planted single species exotic (Macrocarpa plantation)

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