New research funding for forestry and climate change

7 June 2017

Erosion, carbon sequestration and adaptive management to climate change are the focus of three new Scion studies funded by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change fund. Scion is involved in half of projects that were funded in this round, with over $1.3 million set aside for this work.

Dr Tim Payn Research Leader and Principal Scientist says, “Our new projects focus on providing New Zealanders more confidence in forestry as an asset to adapt to climate change. We’ll be leading projects that investigate the effects of converting steep land forests into permanent forests, bolstering our knowledge on the carbon storage capacity of some less commonly planted species and – helping communities find adaptive management techniques that work for them.”

Our successful proposals were

The economics and carbon impacts of transitioning clearfell planted forests to permanent cover forests on severely erosion prone steep lands.
Awarded $449,672 over three years to investigate the impacts of transitioning clear-fell planted forests to permanent cover forests on erosion prone steep lands. This will protect soils and the surrounding environment from erosion impacts while maintaining or building carbon forest stocks and contributing to New Zealand’s 2030 climate change commitments. This study will result in a suite of new options for steep land forests to be considered by investors and policy makers to help grow the economy and meet our climate change commitments.

Growing diversity: Improving growth models for less common species and forest types for ETS carbon look-up tables.
Awarded, in partnership with Landcare Research and the University of Waikato, $450,000 over three years to gather the best available data to improve or create statistical models for the carbon sequestration capacity of less common species (including several exotic and indigenous forest species, other than radiata pine and Douglas-fir). Results will provide spatial surfaces and/or look-up tables of growth and productivity for each targeted species/forest type – leading to more certainty for growers, investors, and Government on the accuracy of carbon storage for less common species.

Integrating extension and land management networks with enabling policy environments to support action to mitigate and adapt to climate change at a catchment scale.
Awarded $434,885 over three years to demonstrate how effective engagement of regional councils, iwi, extension networks and other bodies in addressing the challenge of climate change mitigation and adaptation can be enhanced and accelerated through the co-development of tools and frameworks that reflect the priorities and aspirations of end users (i.e. when addressing adverse events such as the Edgecumbe floods at a catchment scale).

Scion is also a collaborator on a programme led by Plant and Food Research on the evaluation of profitability and future potential for low emission productive uses of land that is currently used for livestock.

MPI manages the Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change fund to help the agriculture and forestry sectors meet the challenges arising from climate change.

Further information

The full list of all successful SLMACC projects can be found on the MPI website.