Woodchipping in New Zealand

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A bulldozer working the woodchip pile at Port Chalmers

Woodchipping in New Zealand is one of the sectors of the forestry industry and it attracted controversy in the 1990s when native trees were used as a source for the chipping.

Wood chip exports

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry collates figures on quantities of wood chip exports.

Wood chip exports[1]
Year Hardwood Softwood
Quantity (BDU) Value ($) Quantity (BDU) Value ($)
1999 31,979 6,672
2000 46,069 10,198
2001 46,317 9,838
2002 6,721 1,278
2003 14,828 2,130 309,351 44,912
2004 18,636 1,869 206,345 29,868
2005 21,076 4,125 239,729 33,772
2006 47,438 9,606 186,436 29,832
2007 59,220 8,888 307,121 51,493
2008 67,525 17,670 307,881 65,844
2009 39,009 9,668 171,357 35,971
One BDU (bone dry unit) of hardwood chips in roundwood equivalent is 2.25 cubic metres and weighs 1090 kilograms.


Since the settlement of New Zealand by Māori and then by Europeans has seen a loss of 75% of the indigenous forest cover. With European settlement in the 19th century large areas were cleared for pastoral farming and for logging. The export wood chip industry was as the main cause of forest clearance on private land after 1970 and by the 1980s 95% of forest loss was due to wood chipping. The native forest were replanted with plantations of fast growing species such as Pinus radiata.[2]

After protests from environmentalists the exporting of wood chips from indigenous forests was stopped by the government in 1996.[3]

See also


  1. ^ Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry – Quarterly Wood Chip Statistics
  2. ^ Wilson, Geoff (1994). "Wood chipping of Indigenous Forest on Private Land in New Zealand 1969–1993". Australian Geographical Studies. 32 (2): 256–273. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8470.1994.tb00675.x.
  3. ^ Taylor, Rowan (1997). Ian Smith (ed.). The State of New Zealand's Environment 1997. New Zealand: Ministry for the Environment. ISBN 0-478-09000-5. Retrieved 11 November 2008.

External links

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