The role of semi-managed nature in supporting biodiversity

Hot off the press today is Catherine’s article on satoyama, the semi-managed nature in rural Japan, which has been published in the latest issue of Asian Studies Review. The article is highly topical, because satoyama was a prominent theme in this year’s Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, which was just held in Nagoya, Japan last month. Continue reading

Our favourite Californian – the history of Radiata Pine forestry in NZ

Radiata pine (Pinus radiata, known as Monterey pine in its place of origin, California), makes up nearly 90% of New Zealand’s plantation forest (1.6 million hectares). The pine grows much faster here than its homeland – about 7 times faster than in the US and 20 times faster than in Canada. No wonder then that New Zealand, along with Chile and Australia, are the top growers of this species worldwide. New Zealand also boasts the most extensive plantation forest, dominated by radiata pine, in the southern hemisphere (Kaingaroa Forest [click here for map]). So, how did this pine species become so integral to our landscape and economy? Continue reading

The Canadian connection – Leon MacIntosh Ellis

New Zealand’s State Forest Service and the forest management policies it implemented were shaped by its first director, Canadian Leon MacIntosh Ellis. Ellis was a strong proponent of plantation forestry and one of his most noticeable legacies, still very apparent today, is the extensive plantation forests of the central North Island.

Ellis was born on 17 July 1887 in Meaford, Ontario, Canada. He graduated with a BSc (Hons) in forestry from the University of Toronto in 1911. In 1919 he was interviewed for the Director of Forests position in New Zealand’s newly created Forestry Department, and arrived to take up the position the following year. Continue reading