COMMENT:

The way Federated Farmers tells it, the current headlong rush into forest planting is a threat to rural community life as we know it.

The fears are understandable. New Zealanders have been retreating from the land to the city since almost as soon as settlers began arriving.

However, land use statistics don't support the notion that forestry could gobble up all the farmland in any kind of hurry.

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As the graphic shows, around half of New Zealand's total landmass is in agricultural grasslands, i.e., farming. Exotic plantation forests account for less than 10 per cent.

Native forests cover around

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