The announcement of extra funding for forestry in the Horizons Region hill country is just the first step on a journey, Whanganui Horizons councillor David Cotton says.
At Ohakune last week, the Regional Development Minister Shane Jones announced an extra nearly $1 million for forestry in the region, with 1,350,000 extra trees to be planted by the end of September.
They will be in addition to what is already planned under Horizons' Sustainable Land Use Initiative (SLUI). Until now SLUI planting has been mainly of radiata pine trees, for harvest.
This time 800,000 of the trees will be mānuka, as part of the Accelerate25 economic action plan's drive toward high-value honey production.
"It will be quite a change from just pines. There will be pines, and some will just be for carbon. There will also be redwoods, and natives, in trials," Cotton said.
Horizons will contribute some money toward the new plantings, and landowners will also contribute.
"The amount of money that we put in is actually quite small compared to the whole cost of forestry. It's a kickstart. "
Cotton chairs the council's catchment operations committee, which oversees the SLUI. He's pleased the extra funding has been signed off, and hopes for more next year.
"I'm excited to see how big we can grow this."