Appletons Tree Nursery Ltd, 1748 Main Road South, Wakefield, Nelson, Phone 03 541 8309, Fax 03 541 8007
Email appletons@ts.co.nz, Web www.appletons.co.nz

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Nelson Forests Ltd

Customer Profile

Nelson Forests Limited (NFL) is an entity created by Global Forest Partners LP (GFP) in late 2007 to acquire and manage high quality Radiata Pine plantations located in the Nelson and Marlborough regions, in the South Island of New Zealand. NFL comprises approximately 63,000 hectares of trees and the Kaituna Sawmill, both of which are managed by its wholly owned subsidiary, Nelson Management Limited.

NFL’s estate consists of 16,000 hectares of freehold land and 60,000 hectares of Crown Forest licence land, formerly State Forest, whose establishment started in 1927. NFL’s plantations are managed on an average 30 year rotation and has reached a sustainable harvest of 1.1 million cubic metres per annum. NFL produces high density, high quality, FSC™ certified wood from its intensively managed forests. 80% of the resource is Radiata pine, 68% of which is pruned, 14% is Douglas fir, and 6% other species. 60% of log production is processed locally with the remainder exported to Asia from the ports of Nelson and Marlborough. NFL also purchases logs from other forest growers within the regions.

N100 Douglas Fir Trial

NFL has numerous trials throughout their forests. One of the most impressive is a Douglas fir trial planted in 1931 by the Forest Service at 2.5 x 2.5 metres, and assessed as being well stocked when the trial was established in 1949. The objective of the trial was to measure growth and yields under different thinning treatments for use in yield tables, and has been regularly measured with the results on notice boards throughout the trial. It received three different tending regimes, untended now 451 live stems, 210 and 136 stems per hectare.

It has been measured at three year intervals and the yields from this average to low fertility Moutere gravels clay site are impressive. The surrounding stand of Douglas fir was logged in the late 1990s leaving the trial exposed on all four sides, but to date very little storm damage has occurred. Stumps from the previous thinning have callused and healed over, as the entire stand has root grafted, making the anchoring of the root balls very robust against wind throw.

NFL allowing this trial to remain is very much appreciated by all foresters for the on going information it provides and as a special place to visit in Golden Downs Forest.

Coronation Forest

Many Nelsonians will relate to Golden Downs forest through their tree planting experiences as school children visiting Coronation Forest. Established in 1954 as a Department of Education initiative, the Forest Service set aside a 140 hectare compartment close to the summit of Spooner’s Range. Being close to State Highway Six it allowed easy and safe access for the school children, parents and teachers. All the region’s schools were involved, with up to 1000 children per week taking part in the tree planting and other activities. In the 1970s a nearby stand of beech was included as part of a conservation walking track, and complemented the 76 species of exotic trees already planted.

The first logging of a range of species was carried out in 1985 and is in its second rotation, having been replanted in Pinus radiata. Coronation Forest has celebrated its 50th anniversary with additional trees being added to the arboretum.

I personally remember growing kowhai seedlings in small pots at the back of Primer 3 class at Wakefield school in 1969, the bus trip to the forest, and the huge mattocks for digging a hole amongst the rocks and clay – no spade planting in those days.

Nelson Forests’ staff continue the educational role of Coronation forest, with school parties spending the day planting radiata seedlings, learning about pruning and other forest practices and walking the conservation trail.



Young radiata pine in the Rai Valley area


Winter view from Inwards lookout


N100 Douglas fir trial


Barry Walsh demonstrates how to correctly plant