SFF Project Summary

Project Title: Trees on farms - making better use of information resources
Grant No.: L12/095

Contact Details

Name of Applicant Group: New Zealand Farm Forestry Association
Contact Person: Harriet Palmer
Address: 49b Totara Road
Telephone 1: 04 973 3077
Telephone 2:
Email: harriet.palmer@paradise.net.nz

Project Details

Status: Finished
SFF Funding: 19,860
Total Project Funding: 30,970
Proposed Start Date: Jul-12
Proposed Finish Date: Apr-13
Region: National
Sector: Forestry
Sub-sector: Farm forestry

Last udpated: August 2013

Final Report
Trees on Farms: Making better use of information resources
Survey Report
Information Resources for Farm Forestry

Project description

This project will give farmers, and those working with farmers, much- improved access to the best, most relevant, existing resources related to establishing and managing trees on farms. 

We will:

  1. identify the resources NZ farmers need most to assist decisions about planting, managing, and harvesting trees, and the most effective delivery mechanisms
  2. interview experienced practitioners to identify the most successful resources used over the years; also undertake a desk-based resource search
  3. produce  a web-based database, ranking the most relevant resources
  4. identify the gaps between resources available and farmers' needs.

The issue/opportunity

Since the 1950s, there have been many initiatives aimed at encouraging farmers to plant more trees, and manage existing plantations and native bush. A plethora of resources has been produced, and there have also been countless technology transfer activities. Much of the information, experience, and resources generated over the years is very high calibre, relevant and useful. However, the resources are scattered, often extremely hard to find or access, and were not necessarily designed for farmer audiences. 

Farmers new to tree ventures, and organisations/individuals whose role includes communicating information about integrated land management strategies, and trees on farms, will benefit from a comprehensive database identifying the best 'trees on farms' extension material currently available and where to find this. Also, this project will provide information on farmers' preferred delivery mechanisms, to ensure effective transfer of information.

The context/background

Tree planting and management on farms continues to be promoted as an important element of integrated land use. Farmers and the New Zealand public at large stand to benefit from the wise use of trees on farms – for timber, soil conservation, carbon sequestration, shade, shelter and fodder for livestock, and wildlife and amenity benefits. It makes sense to make the most of existing knowledge and resources to help farmers make the best land-use decisions for their properties.


  1. Survey of farmers to ascertain their specific information/training needs related to trees on farms, and also their preferred methods for receiving information and training.  
  2. Interview people with experience of working with farm foresters. We will use recommendations from these people to help prioritise resources according to their relevance to today's farmers.
  3. Carry out a desk-based literature and resource search for other resources relevant to NZ farmers.
  4. Tap into existing expertise on rural extension by talking to leading NZ practitioners to gather information about best-practice and novel extension methods in the rural environment.

Latest update

Our on-line survey is still open and we encourage anyone who has not yet completed it to do this as soon as possible. https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Trees_on_Farms The survey has been widely distributed and is yielding some interesting results. It will be open until the end of 2012.

The second phase of this project is to gather information from expert practitioners for our database. We want their recommendations on very best farm forestry information resources – print, web-based, or ‘live’ resources such as demonstration sites, arboretums etc. We are currently piloting a questionnaire which will be sent to around 50 experts we have identified once feedback from the pilot has been incorporated.