Nelson City Council’s forestry overview

Council owns around 700 hectares of production forest land spread across four blocks: Brook, Maitai, Marsden and Roding. The majority of the species is radiata pine, with some Douglas fir, cypress, redwood (and other softwoods) and eucalypts (and other hardwoods).
The management of the Council’s forestry estate is carried out under contract by PF Olsen.
Management of the commercial forest land is driven by the recommendations of a 2016 review report which retains the majority of productive commercial forests and retires approximately 25% of commercial forests for alternate use. These alternate uses include manuka, amenity/long-rotation species, managed native regeneration, and replanting in native species.

Forestry Stewardship Council accreditation

In 2020/21 Council sought Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) accreditation. FSC accreditation is about applying good commercial forestry management practices to set a leadership example as a forest owner and obtain best access opportunities to the local processing market. The foundation of any FSC certification scheme is based on environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable forest management practices.
The Nelson City Council Forest Management Plan 2020-2025 is available here.

Forestry Subcommittee

The Forestry Subcommittee (formally the Forestry Advisory Group) considers matters relating to the commercial forestry operational portfolio, including environmental issues. This includes approving forestry and harvesting management strategy and plans and the engagement of contractors/consultants and forestry tenders. The Subcommittee makes recommendations on other matters, including the approval of forestry related budgets, to the Governance and Finance Committee.
Agendas and minutes of the Forestry Subcommittee are available here

Nelson City Council’s forestry areas

Maitai: 186.8 hectares
The Maitai Forest is made up from several small blocks, which stretch from several kilometres to the east of the city for approximately 10 kilometres on the Maitai Valley Road.
Approximately a quarter of the stocked area falls within the Maitai water reserve area. The remaining forest areas are on predominately steep hill country, which drops down into the Maitai River. Although these areas fall outside of the physical water catchment area they have been regarded as buffer zones for the catchment.
Some of the Maitai stands are recommended to be retired for alternative landuse, mainly those in proximity to the Maitai River or the Maitai Dam. There is some recreation activity through these forests, including some mountain biking trails and a section of the Coppermine Trail.

Marsden: 142.4 hectares
Marsden Forest is located 4 kilometres south east of Stoke at the end of the sealed Marsden Valley Road.
The main plantation is on north-facing slopes on the Barnicoat Range between Jenkins Hill and Saxton Hill. The forest bounds an indigenous reserve on the north-eastern side with farmland to the west and neighbouring exotic forest plantation to the south.
The forest attracts a range of recreation activities, primarily accessed through Glider Road. This includes walking, running, paragliding and access to popular mountain bike trails such as Involution. A stand of Douglas fir on the higher slopes is planned to be harvested and replanted in radiata pine.

Brook (Includes York Forest & College Block): 132.4 hectares
The Brook Forest is located in four separate blocks: one is a backdrop to the Brook Valley, another is further up the Brook Valley on steep hill country, a third is located in York Valley behind Bishopdale (part of the York Valley Block is on land designated for refuse disposal), and the fourth area is a north facing slope located on the Grampians above a residential area of Nelson City.
All of these areas are heavily used for recreation including the Grampians, Codgers Trails and the Coppermine Trail. The majority of the forestry stands in the Brook are recommended for retiring for alternative landuse, with the exception of the blocks on Fringed Hill.
Roding: 232.5 hectares
Roding Forest is located approximately 13 kilometres east of Richmond at the end of the metalled Aniseed Valley Road. The forest is within the waterworks reserve and is bounded by reserve on all but the south-western boundary, which is exotic pine plantation. The topography is generally very steep and the altitude rises up to 900 metres.
Recreation is less common in these areas due to the distance from urban areas, however the Roding has a rich mining history and there are a number of remaining remnants. Walking and mountain biking is popular, albeit on a smaller scale.
Some areas e.g. the higher slopes of Mt Malita have been recommended to be retired into alternative use.

Truck movements

Following consultation with affected schools Council has agreed that no log truck movements past schools will occur between 8.15am and 9.15am and 2.45pm and 3.45pm during the school term, and that speeds past schools at other times will be no greater than 30kph.


Harvesting is planned for 2021 and 2022. Refer to Council's Shape Nelson page for further information.