Evaluating incentives to encourage native afforestation on private lands in Aotearoa-New Zealand

Maksym Polyakov, Peter Edwards, Geoff Kaine, Michael Burton, Philip Stahlmann-Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Native forest establishment is an important mechanism to sequester carbon, increase biodiversity, prevent erosion, and improve water quality. Designing incentive programmes to encourage rural landholders to plant native trees on their land requires knowing what factors influence their decisions. We used a choice experiment to evaluate the impacts of various incentives to encourage native afforestation and regeneration on private lands in Aotearoa-New Zealand. The survey was completed by over 600 rural landholders, including dairy, sheep, beef and other livestock farmers and lifestyle block (smallholding or hobby farm) owners. We estimated a hurdle negative binomial model to quantify the impact of programme attributes and farm characteristics on both the probability of enrolment and the area committed to native forest establishment. Rural landholders showed interest in joining voluntary programmes to establish native forests if provided with appropriate monetary and non-monetary incentives and when native forest establishment aligned with their properties' characteristics. Differences in preferences existed between afforestation/planting and reversion/regeneration programmes. Monetary incentives were key to increasing enrolment and area commitment to both afforestation/planting and reversion/regeneration programmes. Providing seedlings or finding seedlings suppliers were the most important non-monetary incentives to encourage enrolment. Help with application and paperwork and help with planning and species selection encouraged enrolment in afforestation/planting programmes but not reversion/regeneration programmes. Property characteristics were important determinants of both enrolment and area commitment to the programmes. These results have important implications for policymakers charged with designing and implementing programmes encouraging native forest establishment.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104979
Number of pages15
JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
Early online date16 Dec 2023
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024


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