West Coast Forests
The Forest Estate
The West Coast region is approximately 550kms long (similar to the distance between Wellington and Auckland) and is often 50kms or less in width. While it is the third largest region in New Zealand it holds only approximately 1 per cent of the total population.
Like many other aspects of the West Coast – culture, history, geography and climate – the region’s land ownership is unique.
About 78.7 per cent (1.8 million ha) of the land area on the West Coast, is held as Crown conservation land. This amounts to 26 per cent of all conservation land in New Zealand. The West Coast has by far the largest proportion of protected land of any region in the country.
The vast majority of the forests on the West Coast are owned by the New Zealand Government. On its behalf Timberlands, under an Indigenous Management Contract, manages nearly 130,000 hectares of indigenous forest which represents 50 per cent of New Zealand’s total indigenous production estate. This is, however, less than 2 per cent of the total indigenous forest in New Zealand.
The company also owns and manages 26,000 ha of exotic forest, and manages 1070 ha of cutting rights on Department of Conservation land. Again this is a small (2%) proportion of overall ownership of New Zealand plantation forests.
Timberlands forest estate is made up of a broad range of species. The indigenous resource comprises rimu and beech species, while the exotic plantation resource consists of radiata pine 79 per cent; Douglas fir 2 per cent; special purpose species 9 per cent and other species 10 per cent.