Forest planting is declining in New Zealand, according to a report from the country’s Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

Provisional estimates put new planting at 23,200ha in 2002, down from 30,100ha in 2001. The average new planting rate during the past 30 years has been 43,500ha.

New Zealand had 1.81 million ha of production forest as of April 2002, with the central North Island accounting for 32% of the total and producing more than half the country’s timber. Radiata pine makes up 1.62 million ha, or 89% of the area.

The report found about 67% of the pine estate is, or will be, pruned and the area approaching harvestable age is increasing. About 1 million ha of the pruned radiata is 25-years-old or younger.