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New Zealand Journal of Forestry (2016) 61(3): 11–19
©New Zealand Institute of Forestry

Conference Report
Manuka - a viable alternative land use for New Zealandís hill country?

Angus J. McPherson *,1

1 NZIF Registered Consultant and Trees for Bees NZ Farm Planting Advisor. Email:
*Corresponding author.

Abstract: Plantation manuka for honey and oil production has emerged as an alternative land use for New Zealandís hill country. This paper examines the background to manukaís emergence, what is driving this increase in demand and its impact on the honey and pollination services sectors. It then looks at manuka harvesting, apiculture and management, and the factors influencing honey yield, before outlining the business case for manuka (both natural forest and plantation) and making conclusions about its viability. Introduction Plantation forestry has long been promoted as a viable land use for New Zealandís degraded hill country, with various estimates of up to 3-5 million ha of marginal land potentially available for afforestation. Extensive areas of hill country were planted with plantation species during the 1990s while we enjoyed high log prices (e.g. on the East Coast, in Northland, the King Country and Manawatu/Wanganui). As these forests approach maturity, with increased compliance and operational costs and with less certainty around log prices, the viability of harvesting is being questioned in some cases.
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