Georgia correspondent Daryl Weinhoff is blogging about her study abroad experience in New Zealand this summer.
It is often claimed that Pinus radiata, or plantation forests, have "saved New Zealand's remaining indigenous forests" because the addition of this species has taken a lot of pressure off the Podocarp and Fagaceae families. Once occupying the majority of the forests, the indigenous forest now occupies only 24 percent of the land. According to Norton, the Pinus radiata makes up about seven percent of the land, which is greatly benefiting the conservation of the indigenous forests. Norton also points out that the program to plant these trees "was aimed at providing New Zealand with a sustainable timber supply independent of the indigenous forests."
Other factors that have contributed to protecting indigenous forests are the work done by the Department of Conservation, as well as private companies and the various land management acts. According to Norton, "private companies now manage almost all plantation forests, while the Department of Conservation (DOC) manages most indigenous forests for their conservation and recreational values alone." In terms of private ownership, the Resource Management Act and the Forest Act of 1949 are helpful for creating the concept of integrated land management. This concept encourages the people of New Zealand to get economic value out of their land but they also have to take conservation values into account, thereby maintaining the indigenous forests. Following the dissolution of the New Zealand Forests Services in 1987, in response to the implementation of the Conservation Act, many more forests were protected. In addition to the Conservation Act, the government also passed the Reserves Act and the National Parks Act, both of which protect and conserve forests.