forestry.jpgThe National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry (NES-PF) came in on 1 May 2018.

The NES-PF aims to maintain or improve the environmental outcomes associated with managing plantation forestry activities, and to provide efficiencies and greater certainty in the management of these activities under the Resource Management Act 1991.

These regulations apply to forestry that is planted for commercial purposes, at least one hectare, and will be harvested. It also applies to all forestry infrastructure.

Forestry is New Zealand’s third largest primary industry and up until now, many in the industry would argue that its efficiency is hampered by the confusing mix of planning rules across New Zealand’s 86 councils.

The strength of this national approach through a NES is that it will better protect the environment while also improving the productivity of the forestry sector by applying consistent environmental standards, reducing operational costs.

The regulations do this by providing a set of consistent planning rules across the country for eight key forestry activities – afforestation, pruning and thinning-to-waste, earthworks, river crossings, forest quarrying, harvesting, mechanical land preparation, and replanting.

The rules will allow plantation forestry activities where it is appropriate and where there are no significant adverse effects on the environment.  In cases where potential adverse effects might not be avoided or mitigated, resource consents will be needed (controlled or restricted discretionary).

Some examples of the conditions under the NES-PF regulations are:

  • setbacks when planting next to rivers, lakes, wetlands, and coastal areas. These unplanted strips protect against erosion and sedimentation from afforestation
  • management plans for earthworks, forest quarrying, and harvesting activities to identify environmental risks and how they'll be managed

  • identification and maintenance of stormwater and sediment control measures for forestry activities.

Plantation forestry operators are required to submit written notices and plans for afforestation, earthworks, river crossings, forest quarrying, harvesting, replanting wilding species and slash traps. These can be downloaded below and submitted to

Written Notice - NES-PF

You can read more about the new regulations and use some of the useful tools on the Ministry for Primary Industries website

If you have any questions, please ring our land sustainability team on 0800 76 88 45.

Page reviewed: 18 May 2018 12:58pm