Owners of forestry land need to be aware of decisions they should make this year under the Climate Change Response Act 2002. The Act was created to enable this country to meet its international obligations to reduce carbon emissions.

As it affects forestry, the Act divides forests into two main categories:

1. Pre-1990 forests: those forests planted in non-native species before January 1990, and

2. Post-1989 forests: planted after 31 December 1989 either with native or non-native species on land which was not in forest on 1 January 1990.

Under the New Zealand Emission Trading Scheme certain foresters will be allocated New Zealand Units under the Kyoto Protocol. However, there are restrictions placed on the land regarding deforestation and disposal.

Pre-1990 forest owners crucial dates for 2011:

·          30 September: Application for exemption under 50 hectares

·          30 November: Application for free allocation of units

Furthermore, if you are selling or buying forestry land you need to be clear as to the proper treatment of the units. Specific units are transferrable and some are not. If units are retained and not transferred with the property the value of the units (at present about $20/unit) must be paid back to the government.

If you need expert advice to navigate your way through this tangled undergrowth, please be in contact as soon as possible.