Home Assessing Forest Carbon

Forest Carbon Exists in Distinct Pools

- CrownForest Carbon Pools

- Stem

- Litter

- Roots and Soil

At Harvest 60% of the Carbon is DEEMED emitted representing the logs removed from the site.

The balance DEEMED to decay over 10 years at 10% per year

In the case of Pinus Radiata it is accepted 7-9 tonnes of carbon are removed (sequestered per hectare each year) this means that between 25 and 33 tonnes of C02 are removed from the atmosphere. At $15 per tonne this is around $550 per hectare and $40 around $1440 per hectare every year.

At present MAF approved look up tables are acceptable for the purposes of calculating the number of NZU units your are entitled to under the NZETS. Click here for more information

An example 285 ha forest planted in 1995 in the Hawkes Bay are would yield the following at $18 NZD per NZU

Area (ha): 285
year end age class stand C02 Change C02 Area NZU issued Value $
Species: Pinus radiata
12 291

Subscribe to the Carbon Monitor: yes 31/12/2008 13 325
34 285 9690
18 $ 180234

31/12/2009 14 361 36 285 
10260 18 $ 190836

31/12/2010 15 398
38 285 10545 18 $ 196137

31/12/2011 16 436 38 285 10830 18 $ 201438

31/12/2012 17 473 37 285 10545 18 $ 197137



Click here to load your basic ownership and forest data to receive information on what carbon is in your forest

Proposed Field Measurement Approach for Carbon Assessment in Post-1989 Forests

The New Zealand Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has released a draft document outlining a proposed Field Measurement Approach for the NZETS

Click here for MAF Consultation Document October 2010

Click here for MAF technical guide October 2010

Highlights of the proposal include:

  • Indigenous and Exotic categories both requiring permanent sample plots
  • A threshold of 100ha per Participant (as opposed to forest – a participants total forest area is added to establish the threshold)
  • Sub 100ha must use a look up table they cannot opt for measurement
  • The sample plots are to be measured at least once every 5 year commitment period with the first measurement required before the end of 2012
  • The number of plots ranges from 30 to 200 on a sliding scale for 100ha to 10,000ha and above respectively
  • The methodology and measurements for each plot are specified. The resultant data is sent to MAF.
  • MAF provides each forest owner with customised look up tables at no charge
  • The forest owner uses these tables for an emissions return
  • Costs are estimated at least $200 per plot to carry out the work. MAF recommend using a registered forestry consultant.
  • The sample plots are located from a grid the baseline from a random GPS coordinate in the forest.
  • How CAA and the plots interact appears complex
  • Plots that are located in areas not practical to measure may be relocated by permission of MAF Chief Executive



The expected threshold was 50ha so it is gratifying that the number is 100ha. However given the total is by participant this does create significant potential issues with say 5x20ha forests – where are the 30 plots located and whether the objectives in that case would be met using the method suggested.

The cost is significant to those opting in to preserve their rights.

It could be argued with relatively few participants to date that these costs would discourage more participation from the forest sector. The negative is the risk of not opting in, the benefit to existing forest owners is reducing the NZU supply.

Locating plots on a random basis with no regard to access or health and safety issues seems naïve but the waiver provisions would presumably be exercised with discretion. MAF approach to date with the ETS would indicate a common sense approach will prevail.