Testing the afforestation reservation price of small forest landowners in New Zealand
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
The estimation of afforestation reservation prices for small landowners in New Zealand has not been the subject of much research despite its importance in predicting future land use. Reservation prices for planting represent the minimum payment a landowner must receive before converting land from agriculture to forest. A survey of 728 landowners from every region of New Zealand who own between 20 and 200 hectares of forest as well as other unplanted land used for agriculture were surveyed about forestland, forest land owner demographics, ownership objectives, silviculture and reservation prices. In this study, reservation price strategies were investigated by offering hypothetical annual and one-time payments for converting land from agriculture to forestry. From this survey, the average one-time payment a landowner would be willing to accept to convert a hectare of land from agriculture to forestry was $3,554 and the average annual payment to convert a hectare of land was $360. The key factors influencing the reservation price were; whether or not the landowner lived on the property, if one of the ownership objectives was income from carbon, the primary agricultural enterprise and total household income. An implied discount rate was calculated for each landowner and excluding those who would not accept any payment the average after-tax discount rate was 9.7%. Small landowners indicated that their primary reason for owning plantation forest was income from timber with very few landowners using their forest land for recreation. The median farm size was 400 hectares and the median forest plantation was 37 hectares. Planting of radiata pine peaked in 1994 and 1995 with more radiata pine planted in 1994 than in all the years from 2000-2009. Most landowners are performing some type of silviculture in their forests. Ninety percent of landowners are pruning in the current rotation while only 61% plan to prune in the future. Only 26% of landowners have engaged in any commercial harvesting in the past ten years but as their current rotation matures 71% plan to replant on the same site. A majority of respondents thought the situation for forest landowners was getting better. Understanding the reservation price strategies of landowners is important for predicting future land use patterns and recognizing how close landowners are to converting land. The ownership objectives of landowners and the replanting decisions they make are critical for future timber supply. The results of this study can assist in the development of forest establishment incentive programmes. Better information about landowner characteristics will result in enhanced decision-making for the timber industry and the government in New Zealand.
SubjectsSmall forest landowners
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