Resource Management Act 1991 and forestry

Before you plant or harvest trees on land you’ve bought, you should check with your local council to find out if you need resource consent.

About the Resource Management Act (RMA)

The Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) is the main piece of legislation setting out how we should manage our environment. It’s based on the idea of the sustainable management of our resources, and it encourages people to consider the effects of current and future activities on the environment when making resource management decisions.

The RMA requires councils to create plans that help them manage the environment by setting objectives, policies, and rules for activities that might affect the environment.

District and regional plans state whether an activity is permitted (can be carried out without a resource consent as long as any conditions are met) or whether it requires a resource consent. When the council considers your application for resource consent, it follows the processes set out in the RMA.

Find out more about the RMA

Council plans and where to find them

What the RMA covers

Most rules relating to plantation forestry activities are set out in the National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry (NES-PF), which are regulations made under the RMA. Other activities, like clearing native vegetation before planting, are not covered in the NES-PF but may come under other protections in the RMA.

What the RMA means for forestry

District and regional plans will contain all of the relevant rules for planting and other forestry activities. Before you plant or harvest your forest, it’s a good idea to contact your local council to find out the rules and regulations that apply to planting and other forestry activities in your area.

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