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New Zealand Journal of Forestry (1999) 44(1): 29–34
©New Zealand Institute of Forestry

Research article
Forestry communities in transition.

W. McClintock and T. Bains

Resource communities, those at the interface between a society and its natural resources, are very dynamic, and have experienced considerable change in New Zealand. There are characteristic cycles of boom and bust. This paper reports research on forestry communities, with case studies of Kawerau, Murupara and Tuatapere. Results show that the economic context has changed with the internationalisation of the industry and the changed role of the state. The communities are vulnerable to global prices for wood products, pulp and paper. With rationalisation and capital-intensive technology, workforces have been reduced substantially, and productivity raised through shift work and contracting. Other government and private sector rationalisation has concentrated services and businesses in regional centres, with multiple effects on local economies. Although populations have fallen, they have become more socially and culturally diverse, with greater levels of poverty. They have lost people who played strong roles in local community organisations. These local economies can be strengthened by reducing their dependence on forestry.

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