Locals urged to apply for forestry money

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Rotorua MP Todd McClay is encouraging local people to apply for the second funding round for the Afforestation Growth Scheme, which could improve the region's water quality.

The second funding round opened today with the goal of increasing the planting of new forests and the rate of afforestation.

Mr McClay said the scheme could improve land-use productivity, boost economic development, reduce soil erosion, store carbon and improve water quality.

"Improving the quality of water in our lakes and rivers is something we can all help with," Mr McClay said.

Water quality is affected by nutrients entering the lakes from both natural and man-made activities, when nutrient levels are too high it can cause toxic algal blooms and aquatic weeds.

"The Afforestation Growth Scheme is a great initiative, which could reduce the amount of nutrients which enter our waterways and build on significant achievement in the Rotorua lakes catchments over the last 6 years."

The AGS enables positive economic outcomes for farmers and landowners, while also reducing some of the high costs associated with marginal land, by increasing forest cover.

The AGS will also boost regional economies by taking currently under-utilised land and using it for economic and environmental gain.

It aims to enable planting of 15,000ha of new forest by 2020. Any individual or organisation that owns land or has a right to use land for forestry can apply. Applicants who are about to acquire land or a right to use land can also apply.

Applicants must be able to commit between five and 300ha of land to planting in new forest.

Applications for the Afforestation Grants Scheme close on June 8 2016 for planting in Winter 2017.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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