Protecting our soil

City Forests recognises the value of a healthy soil strata to the sustainability of the forest environment and the company’s business viability. Loss of soil and soil compaction have a major impact on the health of the land and waterways, and City Forests has a programme to minimise problems that may be caused by heavy machinery compaction and tracking.

The company is determined to keep tracking to within acceptable levels, particularly on steeper sites. A Ministry for the Environment paper (“Managing Vegetation Disturbance Activities under the RMA”, Oct, 1999, p.16) has defined tracking at a level of greater than 10% of the total productive area of a harvest setting as an indicator of the potential for a significant adverse effect to occur.

Using photo-analysis of recently harvested sites we are able to measure the total disturbed area. A calculation of the disturbed area over the total harvest area gives total site disturbance as a percentage. We will investigate any sites that are above the benchmark.

As at September 2023 we have assessed 63 representative sites totaling 3,060 hectares with a weighted average of 6.32% disturbance (the disturbance ranges from 1.7% to 9.7%).  There do not appear to be any significant issues, but the company will continue to monitor this.