Forest Investment Framework

The right tree in the right place for the right purpose

The Government's goal to plant one billion trees over 10 years can be supported by Scion's Forest Investment Framework (FIF).

To maximise carbon sequestration and mitigate climate impacts it is critical to work out the best places to plant new trees.

The FIF identifies how much carbon can be fixed by a block of trees for any point in New Zealand and any additional economic and environmental benefits (ecosystem services) that can be gained from that block. The additional benefits can include timber profitability, reduced soil erosion, biodiversity enhancement, recreation opportunities, reduced nutrient leaching and improved water usage.

The FIF has been widely used by scientists, forest companies, iwi, regional councils and national government agencies to identify where best to plant trees for various purposes.

FIF combines forest productivity, infrastructure networks, planting and harvesting costs, the economic values of ecosystem services such as erosion reduction, log prices, leaching reduction, habitats for native species, and other sources of information and integrates them to calculate outputs for the areas of interest. FIF’s spatially explicit outputs include maps and tables of values which can be used to describe the broader benefits of existing or proposed forests or tree blocks.

Example maps, Wenita forest estate (Yao et al, 2017 NZ Journal of Forestry)

More information on the background to FIF and the ecosystem services approach can be found here: 

Barry, L. E., Yao, R., Harrison, D. R., Paragahawewa, U. H., & Pannell, D. (2014). Enhancing ecosystem services through afforestation: How policy can help. Land Use Policy, 39, 135-145. doi:10.1016/j.landusepol.2014.03.012

Yao, R. T., Harrison, D. R., & Harnett, M. (2017). The broader benefits provided by New Zealand's planted forests. New Zealand Journal of Forestry, 61(7), 7-15.

Yao, R. T., Harrison, D. R., Velarde, S. J., & Barry, L. E. (2016). Validation and enhancement of a spatial economic tool for assessing ecosystem services provided by planted forests. Forest Policy and Economics. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.forpol.2016.06.023

Selected work that has used FIF can be found here:



For more information please contact: Dr Richard Yao Show email or Les Dowling Show email