Te mahi tahi a te paina me ngā rākau taketake Pine and native trees working together

Pine and native trees can benefit each other in the ngahere. Discover how they work together and how pine can protect native tree species.

There are many benefits to native ngahere. From biodiversity to protecting soil and keeping water clean. Pine trees help with this too.

Native and exotic trees can both protect the whenua and work together to create biodiversity. They also shelter whenua from the effects of climate change.

Growing a mix of native and exotic trees may be a good idea for your ngahere.

The benefits of pine to native ngahere

Here are a few ways pine trees can help native tree species and the environment.

Pine protects young native trees

In the first 3 to 5 years of being planted, native trees are vulnerable. Pine can protect native trees because they grow faster and are not as affected by bad weather. The pine trees create a layer of protection for the young native trees growing around them.

In well-spaced pine ngahere, native trees can grow in the spaces between the trees. As they grow, native trees will find the light, while the pine trees protect them. If the pines are not well-spaced, then they may need some canopy opening to let in the light.

Creating a cooler microclimate

The climate outside the ngahere affects the microclimate inside. Pines planted next to small native ngahere patches can provide a valuable microclimate buffer. This protects nearby native remnant from changes in light and wind.

Pines can protect native trees, especially while they are young and vulnerable, by shading them. The shade from the pine creates a cooler environment that helps native trees grow.

Watch Dr Adam Forbe’s video about microclimates and how they impact ngahere.

Pine and biodiversity

Well-spaced, well-pruned pine ngahere can become a home to a rich understorey of native shrubs, ferns, and native trees. They also provide a habitat for insects and wildlife. Having different aged pine stands in a landscape can help support these values through the harvest cycle.

If a pine ngahere is near a native ngahere, birds can spread seeds from native trees to the pine forest. This enables native seedlings to establish and grow in the understorey of pine plantations.

Connecting landscapes

Birds have an important role in spreading seeds and looking after the environment. Pine ngahere can connect landscapes ecologically, helping birds travel.

Insect-eating birds like pīwakawaka (fantails) and riroriro (grey warbler) move more easily around landscapes with ngahere, including pine. Landscapes with large open spaces are more difficult to navigate.

Erosion control

Pine trees can help control erosion. Soils that erode easily need trees to stop them from washing away into rivers and the ocean. Native trees could be planted to help the soil, but they may not grow fast enough to hold the land together.

Quick growing trees like radiata pine, or other exotic trees, have a better chance of helping the whenua. Pine spreads its roots quickly and protects the soil from erosion.

Secondary crops and food

Older pine provides good cover for secondary crops and food like ginseng, honey and kōura.

Diversifying the land

Pine trees can give options for the ways whenua is used to benefit whānau. Some land may be used for farming, while pine for timber and carbon credits grows on land unsuitable for farming.

Using your whenua in different ways could provide benefits for whānau including food, income and employment.

Emissions Trading Scheme

Pine can help you earn carbon credits in the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). Pine grows quickly and absorbs more carbon, so can earn more carbon credits than native trees.

You can sell the carbon credits if you plan to keep the trees on your land. The money from the carbon credits can be used to fund a native ngahere in the long term.

Native trees can grow in the understorey while the pine protects them. As the trees grow, selectively harvesting the pine trees makes space for the native trees. Eventually the native trees will grow through the pine, leaving you with a native forest for your whenua and whānau.

The ETS is complicated and not all land is eligible to join. You should get advice to see if it’s right for your whenua.

Tāne's Tree Trust has a graph to show the amount of carbon different types of tree absorb.

Pine myth-busting

Whenua Oho have a pine myth-busting video on their media page.

Next steps

View species and planting guides to help you choose what trees to plant.