Forest plantation soils have benefits too

Forest Owners Association

20 December 2023

The Forest Owners Association (FOA) says the fact that soils under plantation forests are similar to soils under native trees, does not make them damaged, as a recent Newshub report has claimed.

FOA President, Grant Dodson, says a representative of fertiliser company, Ravensdown, would naturally have to be an advocate for saying pastoral agriculture soils are better.

“Pasture soil is highly modified. It has been turned from its natural acidic state, by applying lime, to encourage grass and clover to grow. That’s what farmers need to do to get animal protein production from their farms.”

Grant Dodson says pastureland is not initially ideal for growing trees either.  “Pasture is low in the essential mycorrhiza for optimum tree growth. That takes years to come back to help the trees grow.” This applies to native and pines.

“You can see from that that the soils reflect the vegetation on top of them.  There is nothing deficient about forest soil.  It is just wrong to assume that if it’s not growing grass then it’s a production failure.”

“Forestry is very much a productive part of the economy and a major exporter, with no other primary sector anticipated to improve its export earnings by more in the period up to 2030.”

“Trees absorb greenhouse gas – they don’t emit greenhouse gas.”

“Forests don’t need fertiliser. They don’t discharge pollutants into rivers. They clean them.”

“Despite the claim in the Newshub report, there is demonstrably more organic material on a forest floor than on a typical farm.”

“Likewise, it has been known for centuries that planting trees stabilises the landscape, nothing has changed in this respect.”