Napier Courier - 2021-05-05


Pilot tree plan to tackle erosion


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Pastoral farms will be retained and strengthened by the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s tree-planting solution to address the region’s significant erosion challenges, a councillor says. The Right Tree, Right Place programme will have economic and environmental benefits for the farming community, local economy and wider community, says councillor Will Foley. “As a farmer, this makes complete sense. Many farmers are planting and growing trees already in vulnerable areas, but we need this to happen on a much bigger scale to ensure our land is resilient to a changing climate.” Under the trial, the regional council would offer a loan, and other funding mechanisms to landowners to plant trees on their vulnerable, erodible land. Manuka, honey, timber and horticulture are being considered, with the greatest potential to deliver a return and offset loan repayments. “For pastoral farmers, this programme will help us meet freshwater regulatory targets, provide a diversified income stream, help combat erosion, store carbon, and strengthen biodiversity. It’s a no-brainer really,” Foley says. The regional council is proposing a pilot programme on up to five farms to understand the details involved in set-up costs, partnership and delivery options. Around 250,000ha of Hawke’s Bay land is highly prone to erosion and vulnerable, according to regional council modelling. “We are facing a significant erosion problem as a region and we must do something innovative now to address this in the face of increasingly destructive floods and droughts.” As this is a region-wide transformational project, it is the regional council’s preference to fund the trial through returns from reserves. If successful, the development costs of the trial will be reimbursed to the council’s reserves.


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