A focus on radiata pine
Radiata pines grow quickly in different soils and climates and were introduced to New Zealand. Radiata pine is now the dominant commercial forestry species in New Zealand and occupies 4.9% of the land area.
- How much water is required to grow radiata pine in different regions?
- How does the associated water use compare to other tree species
- How sensitive is radiata pine to climate change?
Planted forests are increasingly seen as a competitor for water by downstream users, and this is only likely to increase with the large-scale afforestation planned in the One Billion Trees Programme. This research programme hopes to turn that around, and prove how strategically situated planted forests can substantially increase water resources, further mitigating flooding, and enhancing future primary-sector productivity with increased water flow during drier months.
Ten years down the track this could mean, that tree species planted as part of the One Billion Trees programme, or for carbon sequestration, timber and non-timber products are spatially optimised by catchment to maximise water ecosystem services. We envisage that new planted forests will be used as low-cost water-storage alternatives to dams and passively supply downstream users during dry months and mitigate them during storms.
As part of this we will be looking to make an "apples-to-apples" comparison between water use between several exotic tree species and several indigenous tree species to see if some species use a lot more, or less, water than others.