The research report, Forestry on Farms: Implications for Farm Sustainability and Regional Impact, was released late last year. It highlights wide concern that the social and economic impact of these changes could be significant. Planting forest to sequester carbon, either for carbon farming or directly offsetting farm emissions, is likely to increase, the research, conducted by AgFirst, Groundtruth and Market Economics shows.
There are strong financial drivers for the increase. Traditional sheep and beef hill country returns 2-5% on capital invested, whereas carbon farming (when priced at $65/t) will give returns of three to five times this amount.
At an on-farm level the integration of forestry could strengthen the farm business, as well as providing carbon credits to offset GHG emissions from the farm. At a wider regional or national level impacts would include a reduction in pastoral production, processing capacity or exports. This would be offset by increased income generated by carbon credits, and eventual timber sales.