Forest glut jams timber mills

Clear felling in Canterbury and the central North Island has created a massive backlog at pulp mills as forestry and farm owners try to avoid carbon charges which come into effect on January 1.

Brian Trott, finance manager for local government authority Environment Bay of Plenty, said there is a year’s backlog of timber at mills such as Kinleith.

Forestry investment adviser Roger Dickie said deforestation was causing “a massive glut”.

Forestry and land owners are seeking to avoid charges that apply for each tree that is not replanted, Trott said. Each hectare of trees felled and not replanted attracts a carbon charge equivalent to 800 tonnes of CO2, said Forest Owners Association environment spokesman Peter Weir.

With the government and industry talking about carbon costs of between $25 and $30 a tonne from next year, companies face a bill of up to $24,000 a hectare, Weir said.

He estimated the wood processing backlog was six months to a year, providing ample incentive to fell now.

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