The New Zealand Dryland Forests Initiative (NZDFI) is a commercially-oriented research and development project. Our vision is to develop sustainable hardwood industries in a number of target regions. These industries will be based on forests of genetically improved durable eucalypts developed by NZDFI and suited to New Zealand’s dryland regions.
Breeding tomorrow's trees today
Much of north-eastern New Zealand has low rainfall (600–1000 mm per year): rainfall which is likely to become less predictable as the impacts of climate change manifest themselves. Farmers and forest owners in these regions need sustainable, economically viable land-use alternatives to complement traditional farming enterprises and radiata pine forestry.
Our select eucalypt species are renowned for their adaptability to drought, are very fast-growing, and produce strong, naturally durable hardwood timber. This timber remains sound in outdoor conditions for many decades without chemical treatment.
The NZDFI is breeding high-quality planting stock suitable for New Zealand's dryland regions. The first generation of improved plants became available in 2021 and the number of seedlings planted increased in 2022. The NZDFI is also developing forest management regimes for growers, and identifying and researching high-value national and international timber markets for our strong, durable timbers.