Some of New Zealand’s Forestry Sector Will Not Recover From Damage Caused by Cyclone Gabrielle

On February 12th, Cyclone Gabrielle cut a large path of destruction through New Zealand’s Tairāwhiti, Hawkes Bay, Coromandel, and Northland regions. The region is home to almost 30% of the country’s forestry plantations, according to local reporting by “Stuff Limited” (2-20-23). Gabrielle came one month and one day after Cyclone Hale impacted the same region.

Forest Industry Contractors Association chief Prue Younger, who lives in Napier, told “Stuff” that, while it is too early to assess the full extent of the damage to the sector, there will be forest industry job losses. “Some contractors will have lost their source of livelihood this week.”

Forestry Owners Association president Grant Dodson was also quoted as saying he agreed it was too early to put a cost on the devastation, but that “forestry has been heavily impacted across the area of the cyclone.” Dodson added that processing plants were closed, and that issues around road access would impact “hundreds if not thousands of forestry workers.”

Dr. Tim Payn, principal scientist at Scion, a company officially registered as New Zealand Forest Research Institute Limited (and is a New Zealand Crown Research Institute), also told “Stuff” it was far too early to suggest loss figures for the sector, and that a number of issues would need to be considered including the impact of the cyclones on the forests themselves, downstream impacts, and potential for forestry to stump up recovery costs. Payn added that there would also be a likely impact of “changing the forest management regimes to minimize slash risk.”

To date, 11 people have been confirmed dead and over a thousand persons are still unaccounted for since Gabrielle pushed through the region. A state of emergency has been declared and continues in the region.

FEA compiles the Wood Markets News from various 3rd party sources to provide readers with the latest news impacting forest product markets. Opinions or views expressed in these articles do not necessarily represent those of FEA.