NZ Forest Managers has four High Conservation Value Forests (HCVs) as defined by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
Two of these HCV areas have been recently identified following indigenous vegetation assessments completed within Lake Taupo and Rotoaira Forests.
All of the identified HCV areas are managed in accordance with the NZ FSC Standard for Plantation Forestry. Details of the four NZFM FSC HCV forest areas are summarised below.
- Pittosporum turnerii, Rotoaira Forest: A population of the rare native plant Pittosporum turnerii is present within Rotoaira Forest. In conjunction with the Tongariro / Taupo Conservancy of the Department of Conservation (DOC), NZFM has prepared a management plan for the Pittosporum turnerii. The plan includes a ten year management time-line outlining tasks including possum browse monitoring and control where required with the aim of allowing Pittosporum turnerii to remain healthy and continue to flower and produce seed.
- Dactylanthus taylorii, Rotoaira Forest: A population of Dactylanthus taylorii exists in Rotoaira Forest. NZFM are managing the population in an attempt to conserve the population. Within the forest, a large number of individual plants are caged to protect the plants from predators and with the help of funding from the Biodiversity Condition Fund, NZFM erected a predator exclusion fence around a population of D.taylorii with young host tree species. The aim of the fence is to eliminate predators from the area to allow the population to grow.
- Lake Taupo Forest Flat Areas: There are extensive areas in the northern end of Lake Taupo Forest that have been identified as having high conservation value. The biggest threat to the health and vitality of these areas is the presence of plant threat. A management plan outlining the priority areas for plant pest control has been developed and these control measures will take place in conjunction with NZFM’s wider plant pest control programme in Lake Taupo Forest.
- Hipaua Geothermal Area, Rotoaira Forest: The Hipaua Geothermal Area is located within Rotoaira Forest and is part of the larger Tokaanu-Waihi-Hipaua geothermal system. This geothermal system occurs beneath the eastern slopes of the inactive Kakakramea-Tihia volcano. While the wider geothermal system is approximately 12 hectares, only 1.8 ha is located within the Rotoaira Forest boundary. The vegetation at Hipaua is highly intact and well buffered. There is a low density of plant pests present. Plan pest control is not recommended at the present time, however a regular assessment of the HCV area is scheduled to monitor the presence of potential plant pests.