Here at Craft Homes, we do our best to stay up to date in sustainability practices not just within the eco homes and building industries, but on a national—and often even on global—scale. Currently, there are a number of promising nationwide initiatives being implemented across the board to promote a healthier, more sustainable New Zealand, from new freshwater regulations, the proposed phase-out of single-use plastics, and the Jobs for Nature programme.
One enormous government initiative that particularly caught our eye is the One Billion Trees programme, with an ambitious goal of planting 1,000,000,000 trees across the country by 2028 through government funding and grants. Yes, you counted right, that’s nine zeros!
How does the government plan to achieve this lofty goal and how will this positively affect our country’s sustainability efforts? Read on to find out!
What is the One Billion Trees Programme?
The One Billion Trees programme was launched in January 2019 to increase tree planting efforts across New Zealand. According to the Ministry for Primary Industries, “the goal is to double the current planting rate to reach one billion trees planted by 2028.”
There is $240 million in funding available from the One Billion Trees Fund for landowners, organisations, and community groups to plant trees and improve the way we grow and plant trees. Funding has increased and fluctuated since the programme’s inception to accommodate for changes in the economy, particularly after COVID-19 hit.
What are its projected benefits?
The government states that the programme, if implemented and followed through correctly, has the potential to provide huge benefits for our environment, our people, our communities, and our economy. It also aims to make it easier for everyone—from a farm-land owner to your average homeowner—to plant the right tree, in the right place, and for the right purpose.
Below is a list of tangible benefits that the programme hopes to bring:
The programme is also part of a wider effort for us to meet our international climate change commitments.
How can you apply for funding?
Funding is available for landowners, organisations, and communities in two ways: Direct Grants and Partnership Funding.
To apply for Direct Grants, you will need to collect documents of supporting information, including meeting the Eligibility Criteria for Direct Grants, prepare a management plan, and complete an application form. The MPI provides handy planting and management templates as well as funding guides on their How To Apply for Direct Grants page. Direct Grant payments will then be paid in instalments after you meet certain milestones during your project, which helps ensure accountability and good funding use.
What trees can you plant?
The New Zealand Farm Forestry Association has created a list of tree species to plant to ensure we plant the right trees at the right place. It contains lists of indigenous trees, commonly grown commercial forestry species, and further information. The FFA recommends checking with your local council before deciding on what tree to plant on your land.
One Billion Trees Programme Tree List
How is the programme tracking?
According to the latest One Billion Trees Fund Monitoring and Evaluation Report released in August 2020, $108.5 million has been allocated at the 18-month mark in June 2020, which is over half of the total funding available.
Key report findings:
Our team of home builders here at Craft Homes believe in sustainability across all stages of the building process—from sourcing sustainable materials to designing for overall energy efficiency. Planting trees not only has clear environmental benefits, but having access to locally sourced commercial timber from certified plantation forests will be a huge boon for the building industry. By extension, this helps support the forestry industry and boost local economy.
As a material, timber is generally a sustainably produced product, is naturally renewable, and has a low carbon footprint. Timber framing also has better thermal performance than aluminium, which means better energy efficiency, reduced heating energy costs, improved comfort, and a reduced environmental footprint for new build homes.
Keen to find out more?
If you would like to learn more about the One Billion Trees Programme, visit the MPI website for more information. If you’re curious about starting a sustainable building project for your new home, get in touch with the team today!
Toby and Cat Tilsley