Forest harvest plans

A harvest plan is needed for any harvest activity and helps the harvest crew. The plan includes maps, site information, environmental requirements, and health and safety requirements.

Who completes the harvest plan?

If you engage a harvest manager, they'll complete the plan for you. If you're managing the harvest activity yourself, you need to complete it. 

Farm Forestry New Zealand provide an overview of what's required to make a harvest plan, and information on the machinery and systems used during a harvest.

Before you start your plan

Check with Heritage New Zealand if there are any archaeological or historical interest sites in your planned harvest area.
Learn more about Check with Heritage New Zealand if there are any archaeological or historical interest sites in your planned harvest area.

Harvest plan requirements

The details that need to be in a harvest plan are set out in the National Environmental Standards for Commercial Forestry (NES-CF), and include:

  • the harvesting method (for example, ground based or hauling)
  • the harvest timeline
  • harvest management practices, including slash and waste management
  • where roading infrastructure, landings and skid sites need to be constructed

Harvesting regulations

The NES-CF contains harvesting regulations, including:

  • when resource consent is required for harvesting
  • when to notify your council
  • how to mitigate any environmental impacts of harvesting
  • what needs to be included in your harvest plan.

How infrastructure impacts your harvest plan

Any earthworks including road widening and realignment will need a forestry earthworks management plan. The details that need to be in a forestry earthworks management plan are in the NES-CF.

Your plan should include how you are going to build your infrastructure. This should be done well before harvesting to let earthworks settle. 

Access points

Your harvest plan should make clear where access points are for harvest crews. They will need to know about things like:

  • stock movements, such as milking or lambing, that may impact harvest times or truck access
  • if gateways need widening and if that will be temporary or permanent
  • if any fences need replacing or repairing.

If you have existing infrastructure

You also need to think about how existing infrastructure will impact harvest crews, such as:

  • overhead power lines
  • buried lines
  • water pipes
  • farming culverts.

Culverts for farming often need to be upgraded to be the right size and strength for forestry operations.

Health and safety requirements for harvest plans

Your harvest plan should include health and safety requirements. Harvesting is a high hazard environment for forestry workers. It's important you or your harvest manager know your obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015. 

All parties should agree on an emergency evacuation point. It should be identified on all maps and harvest documentation with latitude and longitude coordinates.

WorkSafe health and safety guidance

Check out the WorkSafe website for health and safety information.

Watch out if you harvest between stands

A partial harvest, or harvesting a mature stand sited between stands, can increase the risk of windthrow and grade degradation.