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  • Te Weu Charitable Trust

David Norton: Carbon Farming & Production Forests on Erosion Prone Land

Updated: Aug 1, 2023



“To be resilient against climate change and to enhance our native biodiversity, we need diverse, multi-functional landscapes with plantation forestry in the right place, alongside farming, horticulture, communities and native forests.”


David Norton is a native forest ecologist who spent over 40 years at the University of Canterbury in the School of Forestry. His work has been primarily focused in the South Island, but he has done some work in the Tairāwhiti area in the last few years. David has particular interest in the ecology of remnant native forests and the work to restore forests back into our landscapes. He works with farmers to help understand the biodiversity on their farms and how they can manage differently to get win-win outcomes for farmers and for biodiversity.


This korero was filmed when David visited Tairāwhiti in May 2023 after Cyclone Gabrielle. His presentation is followed by a discussion with members of the community.


Key messages

  • Climate change and biodiversity must be addressed together.

  • Aotearoa is dominated by monocultures across our forestry, agriculture and arable industries. We need to move to diverse, multi-functional landscapes.

  • Well-managed plantation forests in the right landscapes are critical for Aotearoa. Poorly managed forests, in the wrong landscape will have adverse consequences for the environment.

  • Carbon monocultures are morally corrupt, they are not permanent and will leave significant liability for future generations.

  • Transitions of pines to natives is ecologically fraudulent, they will only occur in suitable climates, with seed source local proximity and the stands are actively managed for 50-100 years.

  • Recloaking the whenua programme: 5 mil ha of native restoration across Aotearoa: 2 mil ha of new native forest + 3 mil ha of existing regenerating native forest being actively managed within 10 years across private, iwi and public land.

This event was hosted by Te Weu Charitable Trust.

Thanks to Rāngai for recording this session.

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