Climate change in New Zealand


Dr Dean Meason from Scion, New Zealand, will be giving a seminar on “Preparing for climate change in New Zealand; impacts on forests, opportunities for mitigation, and development of adaptation strategies” on the 14th of September at the Forestry Auditorium from the Instituto Superior de Agronomia, Lisbon, Portugal.

Abstract of the Seminar provided by Dr Dean Meason:

“New Zealand’s economy is reliant on exports from its agricultural and planted forest sectors. This makes New Zealand particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change (CC). New Zealand is tackling the challenge of CC by assessing the potential impact on agriculture and forestry and is developing adaptation and mitigation strategies such as the implementation of an emissions trading scheme (ETS). Of greatest concern is the effect of increased frequency and intensity of storm events, but in the longer term increased impacts of drought, pests, weeds and fire are expected. Overall (in the absence of the aforementioned impacts) average forest productivity is expected to increase only slightly with increased temperature, though if CO2 fertilisation is factored in productivity increases could be significant.
Scion has developed an accurate, nation wide carbon accounting scheme to meet its Kyoto obligations. Scion has identified the potential to sequester significant amounts of carbon in new forests established on marginal agricultural land. Research on forest carbon dynamics, new forest species, assessment of biotic and abiotic risks, and silviculture underpins New Zealand’s ETS. This is one of the few operational ETS systems in the world where emissions can be offset by the establishment of new forests.
Research is moving from impacts and mitigation towards development of adaptation strategies though this is still very much in the early stage of development. A key focus is on research that integrates across the whole primary sector and spans biophysical, forest management and business aspects.”

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