Plantation forestry

As a forestry operator you need to ensure the environmental effects of your activities are appropriately managed, and notify us before you carry out certain activities.

A digger stands amidst felled trees, lifting logs


Plantation forestry refers to any forest at least one hectare in size, with a continuous cover of planted forest species, which was deliberately established for commercial purposes and which has been or will be harvested or replanted. The term includes all associated forestry infrastructure.

It does not include:

  • a shelter belt of forest species, where the tree crown cover has, or is likely to have, an average width of less than 30m 
  • forest species in urban areas  
  • nurseries and seed orchards 
  • trees grown for fruit or nuts 
  • long-term ecological restoration planting of forest species 
  • willows and poplars space planted for soil conservation purposes.

Rules and regulations

The National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry (NES-PF) came into effect on 1 May 2018. Its objectives are to maintain or improve the environmental outcomes associated with plantation forestry activities, and to increase the efficiency and certainty of managing plantation forestry activities.

The Canterbury Land and Water Regional Plan and the Regional Coastal Environment Plan for the Canterbury Region apply in some instances where a regional rule is more stringent than a national rule.

We regulate afforestation, pruning and thinning to waste, earthworks, river crossings, forest quarrying, harvesting, mechanical land preparation and replanting.

Risk assessment tools

As part of the NES-PF, the Ministry for Primary Industries has provided three risk assessment tools to help assess the environmental effects of certain activities:

Notify a permitted activity

Plantation forestry operators need to supply written notices and provide management plans to us for afforestation, earthworks, river crossings, quarrying and harvesting activities, between 20-60 days before the activity occurs. If the activity is not permitted under the NES-PF you will need to apply for resource consent.

Download form: CON700 - Notice of Permitted Activity (XML Document, 134.92KB)

You can notify us in several ways:

Online form

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