The rehabilitation project is an arboretum that includes many native New Zealand species as well as rare trees and shrubs from around the world. Some of these tree species are endangered in their own habitats. They have been planted according to origin in groupings --- Australian, Asian, South American, American, and New Zealand.
The arboretum enables visitors to learn more about the selection of trees. Over 270 trees are labelled with a white numbering system so that visitors can identify the species, common name, and location within the Park. The Tree Guide can be borrowed – it also provides an insight into the whole rehabilitation project.
In 2011 the Park qualified under the government’s Permanent Carbon Sink Initiative (PCSI) as trees play a significant role in absorbing carbon and slowing the rate of climate change.
There are separate rates of absorption from trees depending upon species and age. The Ministry of Forestry PCSI considers that there are four main types of vegetation with different rates of absorption. To qualify, specialised mapping was necessary to define the areas by species. This mapping was undertaken by Dr. Lex Chalmers and Mr. Andrew Hanford at the University of Waikato.
The Park’s forest is now protected for 50 years through a covenant on its title.
It was our intention to sell the accrued carbon credits to assist with the Park’s long-term maintenance costs. However, the NZ government has devalued NZ carbon credits by allowing industries to purchase cheap and dubious carbon credits to offset their carbon emissions and by providing huge allowances for polluting industries and exempting agriculture (that produces 40% of NZ’s emissions). As a consequence, the carbon price has tumbled. Instead of selling our carbon credits at the $25/tonne rate initially expected, we have ‘banked’ the credits until the rates for selling them improves.
Now that New Zealand has signed the Paris agreement we await the revisions this government must make for the ETS to be more effective at encouraging new planting.