Right tree, right place: why grow durable eucalypts?

NZDFI durable eucalypts are drought-tolerant and well-suited to a range of sites in the North Island and coastal northern South Island.  As climate change brings less predictable summer rainfall to many parts of New Zealand, landowners may need to diversify away from traditional land uses. Durable eucalypts offer a resilient land-use alternative, with many potential benefits. 

NZDFI has a vision and strategy for regional wood supply catchments based around central processing industries. The strength of the NZDFI project is its robust science base and long-term focus on the whole value chain.

The compelling case for durable hardwoods

Gerald Hope, Marlborough Research Centre Chief Executive, explains why the MRC has backed NZDFI since its inception, and is highly optimistic about the future for durable hardwoods in New Zealand.

Benefits offered by durable eucalypts

  • Diversify the forestry sector by providing an alternative to radiata pine
  • Offer an alternative land-use opportunity for all landowners - farmers, forest owners, Māori - especially in drier northern and eastern regions
  • Produce naturally durable hardwood for known, high-value and expanding markets, including posts and poles for vineyards, horticulture and agriculture, and veneer for high-strength engineered wood products such as laminated veneer lumber (LVL)
  • Grow and sequester carbon at rapid rates, making them attractive in terms of NZU accumulation
  • Stabilise soils, thanks to their ability to coppice (regrow from a cut stump)
  • Provide pollen and nectar, often at times of year when other supplies are limited
  • Reduce the use and major disposal problems associated with CCA-treated timber
  • Offer regional communities with a new economic growth and development opportunity. NZDFI's vision is for centralised regional processing facilities served by growers in near-by wood-supply catchments.


NZDFI Project Manager Paul Millen inspects a 9-year-old Wairarapa E globoidea breeding trial.


Developing confidence in growing ground durable eucalypts

Growers considering planting durable eucalypts need to be confident that they will be rewarded for their investment.

The strength of our project lies in our strategic scientific approach and multiple partners, backed by our network of trials on a range of land-types, both on farms and in forests. We are:

  • running an intensive, long-term genetic improvement programme
  • breeding improved eucalypt planting stock of a range of species
  • developing growing regimes to suit varied conditions
  • researching wood quality and products
  • working with regional partners to develop the concept of wood supply catchments centered on future processing industries
  • exploring and promoting multiple markets for durable eucalypt timber.

NZDFI aims to make New Zealand home to a valuable sustainable hardwood industry by 2050.