The regional council’s partnership with TNC, a potential change for the region

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council partners with global environmental organization The Nature Conservancy

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council said its new partnership with global environmental organization The Nature Conservancy (TNC) could be a game-changer for the region by tackling erosion and sediment issues in waterways.

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s Right Tree Right Place (RTRP) Project is an innovative and potentially transformative tree planting initiative to support pastoral agriculture and prepare the region for climate change.

The two organizations are working together on the potential to leverage the Regional Council’s investment in RTRP to deliver increased economic and environmental benefits to both farmers and the environment.

Regional Council RTRP project leader Michael Basset-Foss says the partnership with TNC is an exciting opportunity.

“The results of our partnership with TNC could be profound for the region. TNC brings to the project credibility in the global investment market, environmental research expertise and valuable networks.

The initial assessment of the RTRP project by TNC indicates that it could attract investment and implement a large-scale tree planting program to address significant erosion problems in the region as well as accelerate the adoption of regenerative agricultural practices on productive pastoral agricultural lands.

The regional council is investing $ 4.8 million in RTRP pilot trials on up to five farms, and will offer a funding agreement to landowners to plant trees to make profitable economically marginal lands that are often erodible.

The tree species considered are those with the greatest potential to generate long-term agricultural income through income from carbon, timber and manuka for honey.

“The trials will show how farmers can obtain an alternative source of income from marginal land allowing them to develop their pastoral farming. This will show a viable alternative to reforestation of the whole farm, ”said Mr. Basset-Foss.

TNC New Zealand Conservation Director Carl McGuinness praised the partnership with the regional council.

“We are supporting the business aspects of these pilots and are evaluating a $ 50 million to $ 100 million expansion opportunity to understand how we can take Right Tree Right Place from a pilot phase to a program that can be implemented at Hawke’s Bay.

“This is an exciting opportunity to support farmers and achieve better environmental outcomes for Hawke’s Bay, providing viable economic options for farmers, funding to support change and implementation at scale that delivers benefits. economic and environmental issues throughout the region. “

“We look forward to advancing this opportunity in partnership with the regional council and working alongside the farming community of Hawke’s Bay,” he said.

TNC is working with the regional council and other stakeholders to undertake a due diligence and project design process, which is expected to be completed by mid-2022, as a first step towards the uptake phase. ladder.

Erosion is a natural process, but human activity has accelerated the rate of erosion and increased the magnitude of its effects. Approximately 250,000 hectares of Hawke’s Bay Hills have been identified as being at high risk of erosion and approximately 6.8 million tonnes of sediment is lost from this land and ends up entering the area’s waterways each year. , with a negative impact on water quality and aquatic life.

For more information and FAQs on the HBRC and TNC partnership, visit hbrc.govt.nz and search for #rtrp

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Elna M. Lemons