One Billion Trees Programme science projects

Our research projects are focussing on 4 science priorities until 2024. Read about the projects that sit under these priorities.

Scaling up native (indigenous) planting

Three projects are helping improve our understanding of:

  • seed production and quality
  • nursery hygiene
  • silviculture (the health and growth of new plantings).

Accelerating native tree production

This project aims to make it easier, faster and cheaper to plant high quality native trees. Researchers are identifying ways to:

  • improve propagation techniques and technologies
  • grow large numbers of native seedlings for the forestry industry.

Researcher: Scion
Duration: 2 years, due 30 June 2021
Outputs: Best practice guidelines, presentations, workshops, fact sheets and technical reports

Herbicides to control weeds

Herbicides are used before and after planting to manage weeds. This project assesses different herbicides and weed control practices when establishing native trees on marginal and hill country land. This will be done with the Department of Conservation and Landcorp Farming.

Researcher: Scion
Duration: 3 years, due 30 September 2022
Outputs: Fact sheets and technical reports

Drones dispersing native seed pods

Researchers are using drones to disperse seed pods to encourage native forest regeneration. This could be a cost-effective way to plant large areas, particularly on land that is steep or difficult to access. The seed pods include various mixtures of native seeds and composts. They are dropped across a range of environments including:

  • pasture
  • wetlands
  • exotic scrub.

The project includes seed pod manufacturing and germination trials. It will include large-scale field trials.

Researcher: Environment & Conservation Technologies (ECT)
Duration: 4 years, due 30 June 2024
Outputs: Fact sheet, technical report on seed pod composition for growth in different environments

Tools to support decision-making

We need to change the way we use our land. This does not mean large-scale conversions to forestry. It means changing non-productive and less productive farmland to forests, and better mixing of trees into the landscape. It requires planting a wider range of native and exotic species.

Closing the knowledge gap

Tane's Tree Trust encourages using native trees for:

  • biodiversity
  • landscape enhancement
  • cultural benefits
  • sustainable production of high-quality timber and other resources.

Low-cost proof-of-concept demonstration areas will be established in at least 6 regions. They'll showcase best-practice, large-scale planting and regeneration of permanent native forests.

Researcher: Tane’s Tree Trust
Duration: 3 years, due 30 June 2022
Outputs: Fact sheet, technical report, native tree planting plan templates

Understanding social barriers

We need to understand why people are not planting trees.

Maintaining social licence and overcoming barriers to planting trees

This project is looking at barriers people face when they want to plant trees.

Researchers will:

  • work out what the public think about the planting of more trees
  • work out what changes people's ability to plant more trees
  • write guidelines on how to build public support
  • identify barriers to small-scale planting of trees on farms and other small landholdings (including Māori land)
  • recommend policies and incentives to overcome barriers to planting.

This project includes a literature review, a survey of farmers and landowners, and interviews and focus groups with farmers and landowners.

Researcher: Manaaki Whenua – Landcare New Zealand and AgResearch
Duration: 2 years, due 31 January 2022
Outputs: Fact sheet, technical report, monitoring and evaluation framework, policy options to overcome barriers to planting

Diversifying forests beyond radiata pine

We know a lot about radiata pine forests, but very little about planted native species. These projects will help fill this gap by restarting trials to find the best planting programmes for native and mixed species forests.

Evaluating successes and failures

Scion will restart trials from the 1980s in Auckland, Waikato, Hawke's Bay, East Cape and Wairarapa. Researchers will look at survival and productivity of native species after decades of growth. This can be linked back to how the trials were establised, which will tell us how to successfully plant native forests.

Researcher: Scion
Duration: Complete at 30 June 2020
Outputs: Fact sheets, survival and growth technical report, guidelines for establishing new plantings of native species

Living laboratories and nature-based solutions

Researchers are establishing long-term trials to find the best planting programmes for restoring native habitat and plant species throughout New Zealand.

This will help us learn about the unique characteristics of native tree species. It also aims to:

  • work out why the public may be against planting and harvesting native forests
  • write guidelines for working with landowners, especially Māori landowners.

Four nature-based solution field trials are being established and monitored. These use nature to solve problems we create, such as planting trees to reduce erosion or farm run-off.

Researchers are working with other One Billion Trees projects.

Researcher: Auckland University of Technology
Duration: 3 years, due 31 March 2020
Outputs: Fact sheet, technical report, guidelines for establishing nature-based solution sites

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