September 18, 2019
Values shape Māori approach to forestry
New research on New Zealand's plantation forests has found Māori bring different values to the business than non-Māori.
That needs to be taken into account by owners concerned about their social licence to operate, according to the paper published in the international journal PLoS ONE.
Scientists from the Bio-Protection Research Centre and Scion surveyed 145 forest stakeholders including forest owners and managers, land owners and managers, wood processors and recreational forest users.
All participants said maintaining the soil so it could sustain forest growth over multiple plantings was the most important ecosystem service.
Of the other values identified, Māori placed greater importance on forest ecosystem resilience, provenance and kaitiakitanga, water quality, and harvesting food and medicines from the forest.
The authors said planted forests have a strong cultural value for Māori, so better land use decisions can be made by formally accepting and integrating indigenous knowledge and values into soil health monitoring.
Forests make up about 10 percent of the total asset base supporting the Māori economy, and that could grow to more than 40 percent of New Zealand's planted forests.
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