Planting one billion trees

The Government has set a goal to plant one billion trees over 10 years (between 2018 and 2027). MPI has a key role in helping to meet this goal. Find out more.

Why plant trees?

Forestry has a range of benefits such as helping to:

  • diversify income
  • invest in the future
  • improve land productivity
  • tackle environmental issues like erosion
  • reduce the effects of climate change
  • improve water quality
  • moderate river flows
  • provide important habitats for a range of native species
  • enhance natural landscapes
  • create jobs.

How will we meet the goal of 1B trees?

Our initial estimates suggest about 500 million trees will be delivered through current planting rates. MPI’s aim is to increase the rate of planting to meet the Government’s goal.

This will take a combined effort by government, landowners, commercial foresters, conservation groups, regional councils, iwi, communities, and others.

We also want to make sure the right tree is planted in the right landscape. We'll be encouraging planting of both permanent trees and forests that can be harvested in the future.

That will mean using a mix of exotic and native tree species on private, public, and Māori-owned land. Species that will be planted include radiata pine, redwood, totara, eucalyptus, Douglas fir and mānuka.

One billion trees – reclaiming our forest heritage [PDF, 1.7 MB]

What is MPI's role?

The Government – through MPI – will kick-start additional planting by:

  • using Crown land for planting
  • entering into joint ventures or leases with landowners (such as farmers) to plant privately owned blocks
  • providing incentives for planting, for example, through our grant programmes
  • considering the role of innovation in enabling planting
  • looking at options to scale up some native regeneration projects.

There is a huge amount of goodwill towards meeting the goal. Many different groups across New Zealand are either already planting trees or want to do so. Our role is to harness this energy and support it so the trees deliver as many benefits as possible, in terms of jobs, to communities, and the environment.

What work is underway?

MPI is looking at a range of options to support the one billion trees goal over time, so the programme:

  • gets the best out of the land
  • maximises the contribution trees make to our emissions reduction targets
  • protects the environment
  • spreads the jobs and skills as far and wide as possible in the regions
  • makes best use of public funds.

An important part of our work is working with regional councils to identify landowners with suitable land who could be interested in afforestation. For example, in the Northern Hawkes Bay there are a large number of sheep and beef farms where land could be available for planting.

Our work isn't about displacing farming or other land uses. It's about looking at options for landowners to optimise the use of their land and how to make afforestation (planting new forests) economically viable and attractive for them. Plantation forests may not appeal to every landowner.

We expect planting levels will be lower in the initial years of the programme until we get the land needed and while stocks of seedlings are increased. Planting levels will then ramp up over time.

New incentives for planting announced August 2018

On 13 August 2018, the Government announced extra funding for the One Billion Trees programme.

$240 million will be made available for:

  • grants to landowners for the cost of planting and establishing trees, and indigenous forest regeneration. The aim is to encourage the planting of natives, trees for erosion control, and environment-focused planting. Grants will be available later this year 
  • a partnership fund to create closer working relationships with regional councils, non-government organisations, researchers, training organisations, Māori landowners, and community groups. This will help achieve the one billion trees target by enabling co-funding opportunities and use of existing know-how and experience.

The new initiatives will be funded through the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) with about $118 million set aside for grants and a further $120 million for partnership projects over 3 years.  

Have you already applied to the PGF?

We're developing what the new grants scheme and partnership fund will look like, including eligibility criteria.

If you have already applied through the PGF, your application will still be considered. We'll be in touch if we need anything further for your application.

If you haven't applied yet, we encourage you to wait until we release more details about the scheme and the partnership fund.

If you would like to stay up-to-date or have questions, email

How much land is needed?

Estimates suggest that up to 1 million hectares would be required to plant a billion trees if all the trees were commercial radiata pine. But we envisage that a mix of species will be used. Native trees are planted at a much denser rate, so less land is needed.

Find out more

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