Increasing forestry harvests over the next decade will bring employment opportunities to Hawke's Bay.

Wood availability is forecast to increase rapidly leading into the 2020s in New Zealand with most of the increase from small-scale growers who established forests during the 1990s.

The availability of Pinus radiata logs in the Hawke's Bay region was expected to be 1.3 million cubic metres more in 2025 than in 2008, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries' New Zealand Wood Availability Forecasts 2010-2040.

Hawke's Bay Regional Council forestry specialist James Powrie said the council anticipated an increase in harvests, particularly on steeper and more challenging terrain.


He said employment in harvesting, forest engineering, shipping and log transport was likely to rise with harvest volumes.

"Skilled workers and effective contractors will be at a premium, to ensure safe, profitable and environmentally acceptable harvest."

Regional economic benefits would relate to direct and indirect employment in the bush, at Pan Pac sawmill and Pulpmill as well as at five to six smaller domestic sawmills in Napier, Hastings and Wairoa and at Napier Port.

Port volumes would more than double over the coming decade, said Mr Powrie.

There would also be employment opportunities related to equipment supply and maintenance.

Mr Powrie said most forestry areas were likely to be replanted after harvest. In one instance, 4000ha of harvested radiata pine was being returned to native forest cover, as it was harvested, in what he called an extraordinary and very significant habitat restoration project in Maungataniwha Native Forest on the southern edge of Te Urewera National Park.

Hastings District Council is using Pan Pac forecasts and wider regional forecasts to ensure road maintenance and renewal plans are informed around when the greatest loads are likely to occur, according to a council spokesman.

Central Hawke's Bay District Council land transport manager Shawn McKinley said every truck posed an extra safety risk and added wear and tear on the road network. The council was preparing for increasing rates of forestry harvest through better scheduling of maintenance and renewal works.

Napier District Council works asset staff said they were working with the NZ Transport Agency to ensure road access to Napier Port was as good as it could be.

The Government this week announced a $25 million package of three road access improvements to Napier Port.

Associate Professor at the University of Canterbury School of Forestry Dr Rien Visser said the industry had worked hard to try to get larger trucks certified so it could carry the same volumes without having to increase the total number of trucks on the roads.

In general, large trucks were harder on the roads but the right design could spread the load out.

Dr Visser said most small-scale plantations had some access problems. A lot of those forests were on farms where the landowners had decided to plant trees instead of working with sheep or cows.

Scion Research principal scientist Dr Tim Payn said it was important to know where the harvests were and when harvests would come through.