Find out everything you need to know about forestry in New Zealand. You might even discover some facts that may surprise you!


How does forestry work?

Forestry Cycle Illustration
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The forestry cycle

Forestry – and therefore the wood it is harvested for – is a great resource because, unlike many of the other resources we use it is renewable. So once our trees are grown and harvested and sent off to be used, more seedlings can be planted and the cycle begins again.

Growing seedlings

Pine tree seed is grown in seed orchards around New Zealand.  This seed is then sold to pine tree nurseries where they are grown into seedlings ready to be planted out.


When seedling are about 30 tall or 2 years old, they are ready to be planted.  Forest workers take bags of seedlings and walk the hills planting with a spade by hand.  These trees will grow here for the next 20-30 years till they are ready for harvest.

Growing trees

It’s time for the trees to grow. ………Looking after a forest can be a big job as they cover a huge area and work is ongoing in different parts of the forest.


Once the trees……we call this mechanical harvesting and more than 50% of our harvesting in New Zealand forests now have “no man on the ground” they are all driving machines.  Road building is a huge part of harvesting a forest, once those trees are cut, they have to get to market.

Logs to market

Logging trucks collect logs from the forests where they travel to sawmills both in New Zealand and overseas.  Logs can travel by trains or trucks to ports where they are loaded onto ships destined for overseas sawmills.  Sawmills in New Zealand produce many products that we use every day and we grow far too many logs for them to use.


Once the forest has been harvested the cycle starts all over again.  New trees are planted for the next generation of forests and wood products of the future.

Forestry Economy

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$6 billion a year in forestry exports!

Forestry makes a huge contribution to New Zealand's economy. Around 66% of our timber is used right here in New Zealand. Forestry is also our fourth biggest export earner and tens of thousands of New Zealanders are employed in our forestry and wood processing sectors. 

Forestry has a big future, too – the government expects forestry's contribution to the New Zealand economy to grow hugely over the next 10 years.

Forestry around the regions

Warrenforestry.com Canterbury
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Forestry across the country

Forestry is found right across New Zealand, from the Deep South, to the Far North. Find out more about the economic, social and environmental contribution forestry makes to our local communities.

Canterbury and West CoastCentral North IslandNelson MarlboroughNorthlandSouthern North Island SOUTHERNEAST CAPE

Working in forestry

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So many career options!

More than 40,000 New Zealanders work in forestry jobs in New Zealand. There's a great range of jobs you can do – whether you like working outdoors, driving machinery or trucks, or working in an office or a lab, there's something for you.

Find out more about the jobs in forestry by visiting forestrycareers.nz.

Taking care of our environment

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Pine trees are one of our most important tools in the fight against climate change. They grow very easily in New Zealand, and they grow quickly, locking up the carbon that leads to global warming. Once they're harvested, more trees are planted to continue the cycle of carbon uptake.