Wednesday, February 3, 2010

the hills are alive

Many of the hills in NZ are planted with pine trees that are harvested for timber routinely. It is an amazing process to watch them harvest a hillside of trees. The Monterrey Pine was introduced to NZ in the 1850's. The soil and climate allows it to mature in 28 years, much shorter than the normal time to maturity in California. Currently, 90% of NZ managed forests are planted with Monterrey Pine. The hillsides are beautiful and the trees give them a soft look.

The loggers make logging roads on the hillsides before planting the trees. The trees are then planted and thinned after a couple years. Fifteen to twenty five years later they are cut and brought to the mill for processing. The harvested area in the picture (taken from the golf course if you hadn't noticed) experienced a hurricane some 18 months ago or so. This harvested area represents trees that had blown down in the storm. They were mature enough to get some value from them. You can see the unharvested area adjacent. It has been fascinating watching the big logging trucks rumbling along the logging roads up in the hills and then down through town to the mills. It is amazing to see these trucks, fully loaded, half way up the hills making their way down.

The forestry industry makes up about 4% of NZ's GDP.

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