Record plantation removals in New Zealand

New Zealand’s plantation harvest reached a new quarterly record of 9.681 million m3 in the September quarter of 2018. Driven by record removals of Export logs (5.767 million m3) and Sawlogs (2.242 million m3). On an annualized basis, total plantation removals were up 9.2% to 35.770 million m3 over the year-ended September 2018.

The chart below shows the almost continuous growth in New Zealand’s quarterly plantation removals since the middle of 2008. 


To go straight to the dashboard and take a closer look at the data, click here.

To underscore the magnitude of the growth in New Zealand’s plantation removals, for the nine years since the year-ended September 2009, extractions have increased more than 78%, growing at an annual average rate of 6.6%.

Examining the chart in some more detail, it can readily be observed that the grade exhibiting the majority of growth has been Export logs. The chart below isolates these log extractions.


To go straight to the dashboard and take a closer look at the data, click here.

The chart emphasizes several relevant points. Most notably, trend growth in extractions of Export logs was consistent through to mid-2013, after which there was a decided dip and some fluctuation through until early 2017, after which there was aggressive growth that returned toward trend.

We can reasonably attribute the 2013 to 2017 hiatus in Export log extraction growth to the relatively high value of the New Zealand dollar to the US dollar. This was a similar situation for Australia, albeit that the Australian export harvest continued its expansion through much of that period.

Leaving aside the mid-term dip, over the decade displayed in the chart, driven by very strong demand in China, New Zealand’s Export log removals grew powerfully to these record levels.

Export log extractions may dwarf all others, but it may be that their most remarkable feature is the extent to which they dominate New Zealand’s total extractions and how much they have grown over the last year. The table below shows New Zealand’s plantation extractions by type for each of the last two years.


  YE Sep '17 YE Sep '18 YoY % Change
Saw Logs Removals  8,300.8 8,193.0 -1.3%
Peeler Logs 1,143.1 1,224.0 7.1%
Small Logs 1,282.9 1,307.0 1.9%
Pulp Logs 3,590.8 3,564.0 -0.7%
Export Chips 295.2 278.0 -5.8%
Export Logs 18,129.5 21,204.0 17.0%


Export log removals increased 17.0% over the year-ended September 2018 and accounted for 59% of the total harvest. Meanwhile, despite recording their strongest ever result in the September quarter, Sawlog removals were down 1.3% over the full year, accounting for 23% of the total harvest.