New forest scheme has potential – Brian Fallow

Brian Fallow, The New Zealand Herald‘s economics editor, discusses the Permanent Forest Sinks Initiative, it’s connection to the fledgling Emissions Trading Scheme, and what benefits it might hold for New Zealand.

An excerpt (read in full here):

Forest scheme deserves chance to grow

When climate policy is debated the focus is almost always on costs and hardly ever on the associated opportunities.

Yet, if done right, one man’s cost is another man’s income. The trick is to be the other man.

A government scheme still barely in its infancy, which promises to be as valuable economically as it is environmentally, is under review and at some risk of being scrapped.

It is called the Permanent Forest Sinks Initiative and it is designed to foster carbon forestry – the growing of forests for carbon credits rather than timber.

The key word is “permanent” and that is what distinguishes the scheme from its much bigger but younger brother, the emissions trading scheme, in which credits allocated for commercial plantation forests dominate the supply side of the market.

The initiative is designed to encourage the afforestation or reforestation of steep, erosion-prone and often inaccessible country where roading costs are liable to render it uneconomic to grow radiata pine for harvest.