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Deforestation for dairy

The chainsaw massacre

Page - August 4, 2010
It's not just what's happening down on our industrial farms that's causing climate change, it's also what's being destroyed to make way for them. In the rush to convert to land to dairy farming, tens of thousands of hectares of forests are being felled.

Landcorp is clearing 25,000 hectares of forest to make way for 10 corporate farms in the Central North Island

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) some 455,000 hectares of forestry land is at risk of being deforested and converted into pastoral use - the majority for dairying. [1]This is equivalent to 910,000 rugby fields or over seven times the size of Lake Taupo.

The national forestry plantation estate is currently 1.8 million hectares. This means that over 25 per cent of the nation's plantation is at risk of being deforested to convert into mainly industrial dairy farming, without Government intervention.

Conversion of forestry land to dairy pasture is a 'double whammy' for the climate. It destroys forests and replaces them with intensive dairy farming which is one of the most greenhouse gas intensive forms of land use.

Greenpeace is calling for a moratorium on further conversion of forests to pasture.


[1] MAF, Area of forest 'at risk' from deforestation, August 2006,