Home NZ Emissions Trading Pre 1990 Forestry Deforestation Liabilities

Pre 1990 :: Deforestation Liability

Deforestation gives rise to a liability, and replanting will negate this liability. So if pre 1990 forest owners replant they do not have to deal with the liabilities. It is ONLY when the land use changes from forestry that the liability for carbon emissions crystalises.


Deforestation is clearly defined in the policy documents as: “The conversion of forested land to non-forest uses, such as farmland, roads, or housing developments”.


While in no way limiting this general definition, deforestation will be deemed to have taken place if, four years after harvest, harvested land is not protected from stock and other threats, and either:

• it has not been replanted in forest species; or
• it has not naturally established a significant covering of seedlings of forest species that are capable of regenerating into forest of at least five metres in height and 30 percent crown cover (for example, because of the presence of livestock).

Land will also be deemed to be deforested if, 10 years after harvest, the forest species growing on it have not reached at least 30 percent crown cover and five metres in height.


In cases where evidence of deforestation is less decisive, the forest land will be subject to audit, under which evidence of conversion post-harvest will be assessed on the basis of:

• removal of forest residues from the site or mulching of forest residues;
• investment in non-forest vegetation such as pastoral species;
• permanent fencing within the boundary of the harvested area;
• the presence of stock at densities consistent with agricultural activities;
• establishment of farming infrastructure such as dairy sheds, houses, water treatment plants, irrigation etc.

Any two of these will be treated as proof that deforestation has occurred.