Beef + Lamb New Zealand says the growing chorus of voices against unchecked carbon farming cannot be ignored and urgent solutions are needed before more damage is done to rural communities.
The industry-good organisation has supported the recent formation of the Native Forest Coalition which comprises the Environmental Defence Society, Pure Advantage, the Rod Donald Trust, the Tindall Foundation, Project Crimson, Dame Anne Salmond and Dr Adam Forbes.
The rise of carbon farming has become a contentious and topical issue, particularly where it involved the conversion of productive sheep and beef properties.
The Native Forest Coalition recently released its policy statement and recommendations on native forests, highlighting the urgent need to "halt the rapid proliferation of pine plantations" driven by high carbon prices and short-term policy settings.
Fish & Game New Zealand has also publicly supported the coalition's position, saying current policy favouring carbon sequestering in exotic pine plantations over native forests, driven by high carbon prices, was having "a myriad of adverse impacts".
"A very real concern is the effect of pines on in-stream flows. Research has established rainwater run-off is diminished by up to 40 per cent by pine plantations," spokesman Ray Grubb said.
"Widespread plantings in catchments will be in direct conflict with the Government's current objectives to improve freshwater.
"Further, mass sedimentation events when exotic forests are felled have catastrophic impacts on in-stream biology and water quality."
Plantation forestry had a place in helping meet New Zealand's climate change commitments but the proliferation of monoculture pine plantings in recent years had clearly been "out of control" and "ill-considered", Grubb said.
B+LNZ chief executive Sam McIvor said it was getting harder for the Government to do nothing about the issues the coalition raised.
"There are so many voices calling for action," he said.
"We need urgent solutions now - before too much more damage is done to rural communities and so that we don't miss real opportunities to protect and enhance New Zealand's biodiversity."