Pine trees ‘not the only answer’ to Billion Trees programme

Rural Exchange 15/09/2018
Photo: Getty.

Willow and poplar trees should be considered in the Government’s One Billion Trees programme, says the NZ Willow & Poplar Trust.    

On Thursday, the Government announced a new $240 million boost to its One Billion Trees programme from the $3 billion Provincial Growth Fund, aimed at getting new planting underway.

The programme aims to plant a range of tree species, including pine and native forest, across New Zealand.

But the NZ Poplar & Willow Trust urges the Government to remember the benefits of space planted willow and poplars, particularly for preventing hill country erosion.

“With 7,000 some willows and poplars securing our hillsides we don’t get anywhere near the damage that these guys do with pine trees,” said Bruce Wills, chairman of the Trust.

Mr Wills told RadioLIVE that hillsides “fall to bits” under harvested pine trees, with the root systems rotting within 6 months.

While the Trust chairman welcomes the extra One Billion Trees funding, he wants to see willow and poplars incorporated into New Zealand’s long-term planting strategy.

“We don’t need to cover all our sides with pine trees,” he said.

The erosion benefits of poplars and willows are widely accepted, with such species used under the Government’s Hill Country Erosion Programme.

Watch the full interview with Bruce Wills above.

Rural Exchange with Hamish McKay, Sarah Perriam and Richard Loe, 5-7am Saturday and Sunday on RadioLIVE with Carter’s Tyre Service. Click here for all the ways to watch and listen.