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Provisional estimates of sales of tree stocks in NZ


Manuka Hitiri plant nursery New Zealand

A report by New Zealand’s Forest Service provides the provisional estimates of the sales of tree stocks and the areas of commercial forest planted in 2023. It also provides an estimate of mānuka seedling sales, and the area planted. Source: Timberbiz

Following the main winter planting season, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) undertakes an annual survey of tree stocks sold by commercial forestry nurseries. The results are aggregated to produce estimates of total national sales, and then modelled to estimate the total area of planting by species and species group.

In 2023, 32 commercial nurseries completed the survey of which 12 supplied bulk sales of mānuka as their primary activity or in combination with sales of seedlings from plantation establishment.

Tree stock sales reported in 2023 totalled 119 million seedlings, compared with 120 million sold in 2022.

The main decrease was in radiata pine where sales decreased by 0.8 million seedlings (1%). Sales of Douglas-fir showed a modest increase, while sales of other exotic softwood tree stocks decreased by 3% from 2022.

The total area of forest planting in the winter of 2023 is provisionally estimated from the nursery survey data and associated modelling to be 113,000 hectares. The modelling generated national average stocking rates for radiata pine of 1,019 stems per hectare for open pollinated plus Stand Select, and 965 stems per hectare for control pollinated plus cuttings and clones. The national average for 2023 was 1,003 stems per hectare.

The 2023 nursery survey asked commercial forestry nursery managers about anticipated sale levels in 2024. All nurseries responded. Their estimates indicate that total seedlings sales may increase to 122 million seedlings in 2024.

The nursery survey and the associated modelling are only intended to provide early approximations of the areas of total planting and planting by species or species groups for the year. These are subsequently revised as necessary when data are received directly from forest owners through the annual survey for the National Exotic Forest Description (NEFD).

This is the eighth year that MPI has gathered information on mānuka seedling sales to estimate the area planted.

Twelve nurseries provided sales information on bulk sales of mānuka.It is estimated that 4.2 million mānuka seedlings were sold, mostly for the honey industry, some for revegetation and some for research on mānuka oil production. This is a decrease in sales compared with 2022 (5.2 million seedlings).