SFF Project Summary

Project Title: Enhancing pastoral farming sustainability through carbon sequestration
Grant No.: C08/039

Contact Details

Name of Applicant Group: Montfort Trimble Foundation
Contact Person: Stuart Orme
Address: PO Box 758
Telephone 1: 06 370 2068
Telephone 2:
Facsimile: 06 370 2069
Email: stuart@woodnet.co.nz

Project Details

Status: finished
SFF Funding: 239,750
Total Project Funding: 306,250
Proposed Start Date: 2008-07
Proposed Finish Date: 2011-06
Region: Wairarapa
Sector: Forestry
Sub-sector: Sheep
Farm forestry
Topic: Climate change
Land development opportunities
Links to policy

Last updated: 13 September 2011

Latest update

Final report

Rewanui newsletter summer 2011

Rewanui Biodiversity Summary Report 2008-2011

Rewanui Bird Survey February 2010 [375K PDF]

The issue/opportunity

The development of carbon management systems using tree species (and soils) has the potential to contribute to the design of the next generation of farming systems in New Zealand.

Potential revenue (or tax offsets) made possible through the PFSI (Permanent Forest Sink Initiative) and ETS (Emissions Trading Scheme) can add resilience to pastoral farming systems.

The Montfort Trimble Foundation, in addition to retiring a block of pasture, scrub and indigenous forest, has spent the last three years establishing 11 exotic and 17 indigenous species trial plantings on a dry east coast hill county farm in the Wairarapa.

Information available to date and in the immediate and long term future can be used to road map the successful use of trees on pastoral hill country properties to provide a matrix of benefits.

The context/background

Current farm earnings in the Wairarapa and other dry country pastoral farming will be lucky to average $80/Ha before costs of capital are accounted for this year (down from $300-$350/ha three years ago).

With the emerging ETS, land owners will be looking to offset their potential emissions and eventually at how they might generate revenue through carbon sequestration.

We aim to provide enough information (and examples they can visit) on suitable species for carbon sequestration.

We believe that if they have the confidence to enter a carbon sequestration programme, that the potential revenue streams from Carbon farming will potentially lift their properties back onto a more viable business platform.


Reverting and established areas will be monitored to fully understand the flora and fauna species transitions occur as stock is excluded and other pests controlled.

This will include changes to vegetation, carbon accruals, birds, lizards and invertebrate populations and compositions.

Further to this soil carbon levels will be monitored under the various species under review.

Information will be promoted through an extensive network of stakeholders and workshops culminating in 2011 NZ Farm Forest Association annual conference to be held in the Wairarapa about the time the first stage of this project draws to an end.

Latest update



Over the last two years Ian Campbell (Chairman of the Montfort Trimble Trust) has been developing a mapping and data presentation package. This package takes tree data (or other data) and presents in pictorial form.

Each tree is mapped to a location in relation to an identified point within the plot by taking a compass bearing and horizontal distance and then mapping it using spread sheet technology to form an accurate map of tree placement. This provides what is effectively a bounded plot in an unbounded way allowing us to estimate stems/Ha where we would not normally be able to.

Each tree is then represented to reflect its diameters (ground level and 1.4m above the ground) height, increase in height, environment (i.e. growing in the open, within scrub, under a canopy).

This is exciting stuff and is making the data collected and sites under review very transparent and we believe this has multiple applications for many potential users.


Progress continues to be made with another round of specific rat control being carried out to enhance the bird breeding opportunity.

Alternative pest control devices are being investigated (this is outside the SFF project but will hopefully add to the out comes the Trust is seeking).


Good progress has been made in all monitoring inclusive Birds, Lizards, invertebrate's vegetation and carbon. An additional 18 exotic plot shave been added to the pre existing 30 indigenous plots and measurements completed on all but one which is in progress.

Tree survivals from last year are better than previous but some species site preferences and their ability to prosper are starting to become clearer. After three years it is evident that among the trialled indigenous species planted that Totara will be one of the more successful fast growing indigenous trees at adapting to and surviving in a range of sites with minimal on going expense to the grower.

Of the exotic species on trial, Redwoods are showing to be much hardier and able to survive (and prosper) in drier and windier sites than their public perception would suggest. It is how ever early days and time will paint the full picture.

One of the weta motels placed out in Rewanui to help identify presence of invertebrates

One of the weta motels placed out in Rewanui to help identify presence of invertebrates