All New Zealand native species of plant and tree can make up an eligible indigenous forest under the rules of the NZ ETS. All of the Land Requirements for Carbon Credits in the ETS must still be met for ETS eligibility to be confirmed.
The most important requirement of native forests in the ETS is that 30% of the forest's canopy cover must be made up of tree species that have the potential to reach at least 5 metres tall at maturity. A list of some of New Zealand native tree species that reach at least 5 metres tall is provided at the bottom of this blog. The rest of the forest can be made up of plants, shrubs and smaller trees that create structure across all levels of the forest canopy.
Both naturally regenerating native areas and planted native forests are eligible for the NZ ETS. For regenerating areas of native forest, it can be challenging to accurately date the initial emergence but is possible to date establishment by using historic aerial photos and satellite imagery.
When planting a native forest try to include a mix of species relevant to the location, topography and soil conditions for the site. Look at what was present in the area historically and try to mirror nature at establishment time. Having existing native forest nearby will provide an added seed source for the newly established native forest, adding species diversity and aiding in the successional development over the lifetime of the forest. Do not rely on a natural seed source to ensure the density of tall trees meets the 30% canopy cover threshold.
The presence of weed species such as broom and gorse is acceptable in ETS registered native forests. Weed species can provide great benefit to the formative structure of the forest. Gorse and broom act as a nurse crop providing cover to the shade-tolerant species that will grow up through the weeds, eventually shading them out to form the larger canopy of the forest.
A successful native forest establishment project takes research, planning and considerable ongoing management. Landowners should do plenty of research, consider getting professional advice, and employ competent contractors to carry out the work. Failure to do this can be an expensive mistake in the long term.
Kauri Agathis australis
Kahikatea Dacrycarpus dacrydioides
Mataī Prumnopitys taxifolia
Miro Prumnopitys ferruginea
Mountain toatoa Phyllocladus alpinus
Rimu Dacrydium cupressinum
Tanekaha Phyllocladus trichomanoides
Tōtara Podocarpus totara
Kawaka Libocedrus plumosa
Pahautea Libocedrus bidwillii
Ponga or silver fern, Cyathea dealbata
Mamaku Cyathea medullaris
Taraire Beilschmiedia tarairi
Tawa Beilschmiedia tawa
Cabbage trees Cordyline
Hīnau Elaeocarpus dentatus
Kohekohe Dysoxylum spectabile
Kōtukutuku Fuchsia excorticata
Five finger Pseudopanax arboreus
Lancewood Pseudopanax crassifolius
Toothed lancewood Pseudopanax ferox
Manuka Leptospermum scoparium
Bartlett's rātā Metrosideros bartlettii
Kermadec pōhutukawa Metrosideros kermadecensis
Northern rātā Metrosideros robusta
Parkinson's rātā Metrosideros parkinsonii
Pōhutukawa Metrosideros excelsa
Southern rātā Metrosideros umbellata
Large-leaved milk tree Streblus banksii
Small-leaved milk tree Streblus heterophyllus
Nikau Rhopalostylis sapida
Pigeonwood Hedycarya arborea
Pukatea Laurelia novae-zelandiae
Black beech Nothofagus solandri var. solandri
Hard beech Nothofagus truncata
Mountain beech Nothofagus solandri var. cliffortioides
Red beech Nothofagus fusca
Silver beech Nothofagus menziesii
Kāmahi Weinmannia racemosa
Tōwai Weinmannia silvicola
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