One hundred years of state forestry and going strong

Historic nursery photoOn 31 May 1913, the Royal Commission on Forestry published a report that established the foundation for exotic forestry in New Zealand. Commission members travelled some 7,000 miles throughout New Zealand, predominantly by horse and buggy, train and boat and visited native forests, exotic plantations and forest nurseries to provide an independent review of the state’s role in plantation forestry. 

The report followed others by professional foresters, timber experts, tree planters and officials from the Lands Department stretching back to 1877, and led to the eventual establishment of a forests department headed by professionally trained foresters.

The Commission recommended large scale planting of ‘eucalypts for durability and pines for building timber’ with particular reference to Pinus radiata. Forest land suitable for farming was to be given over to that use after harvest regardless of the quality of forest, and although areas of indigenous forests might be reserved for scenic purposes, afforestation was advocated over indigenous forest management.