Part of the “Land Use and Carbon Analysis System” (LUCAS)

Interpine is working with the Ministry for the Environment (MFE) to implement a planted forest inventory system for carbon monitoring. The first planted forest measurements were completed on Post-89 forests in 2007, 2008. This work is continuing in 2010 for pre-1990 forests with additional data being collected on forest health on behalf of the Forest Owners Assosciation.

So what is LUCAS ?

The New Zealand Land Use and Carbon Analysis System (known as the LUCAS project) is a programme of work to measure and monitor the national level carbon stocks of New Zealand’s forests and soils. Carbon stock information is required for New Zealand’s reporting requirements under the Kyoto Protocol and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. LUCAS is an important part of the Government’s climate change policy package and will help inform our future international climate change negotiations. The data collected will also be used by MAF in the 2011 Net Position Report.

For more information on LUCAS see

 Why is LUCAS interested in trees on my land ?

The NZ Planted Forest Carbon Monitoring System uses a national grid-based network of permanent plots to provide an unbiased estimate of carbon stored in planted forests. Sample points are located on an 8km grid across the country. A sample point (also referred to as a site) is deemed to be part of the permanent plot network if any part of the plot falls within an area of planted forest (shown in A – 8km grid in yellow with survey sites falling in planted forest selected in red). Around 214 of these sites have been selected across the country for measurement. The LUCAS project has already completed a similar inventory of natural forests using an 8km grid and the re-measurement of these plots is currently underway.

Who is involved with this LUCAS Project?

Interpine has been contracted by MfE to complete the field survey of the 214 sites around the country. On site it is our staff who you will be dealing with. Charles from our team will contact you to let you know when to expect our field team on site. Prior to this you, or a representative of the owner will have been contacted by MfE (Nigel Searles) by phone, letter, or e-mail regarding permission for access onto your forest land. After we survey your site you may also be contacted by Scion Research. They will be conducting an audit of our field work on a small percentage of the sites.

What happens on a LUCAS survey site ?

Data is collected from a 0.06ha circular plot centred on selected 8km grid points.

We collect data from 2 potential carbon pools on site, i.e above-ground live biomass (trees and shrubs). This includes capturing measurements of tree size (B), species (C), soil samples and forest health (D). We will be removing from the site about 250g (or a cupful) of top soil.

The site will be marked by 3 trees painted with white paint and a number (witness trees) to help triangulate the location of the site centre in the future (E). We would also normally mark the centre of each plot with a 30cm metal pipe (F) in the ground to allow crews in the future to locate the plot centres using a metal detector. If you have any concerns about this let our field crews know.

What information can landowners provide to assist in the LUCAS project ?

There are a number of ways you can assist with the project. We would greatly appreciate information like:

  • Confirmation of land owner contact details, and any other parties which should be contacted now and in the future about access to the site (farm or forest managers). Also note your preferred method of contact: phone, fax, email, or letter.
  • The easiest way to get access to the site location (we can provide maps, shape files on request for sites within your forest).
  • Do we need any gate keys / permits or special equipment (RT radio’s, Quad bikes) to access the site ?
  • Let us know of any concerns you have with access e.g. lambing, inaccessible after heavy rain
  • Have you conducted any silviculture on the trees (pruning, thinning, fertilising, spraying) ?

    (If you don’t know the age or silviculture (for example due to change of ownership), our expert field teams maybe able to help you understand this from the data they collect) 

Will we be back ? If so how often ?

Yes most likely, a MFE contracted company will be back to remeasure these sites in the future. As noted earlier these sites are established as a permanent network around the country. It is intended a sample of the sites will be remeasured every 4-5 years, although this has yet to be confirmed.

What if you plan to cut the trees down, or thin or prune trees at the sample site ?

You are free to do as you please with the site. LUCAS aims to gather growth and carbon stock information from the site over time and you should treat the site how you would the rest of your forest or planted area. It is normal forestry practice to do all of the above so we expect this will occur.

Where will the information be used ? Who has access to it ?

On your request this information will not be shared outside of the LUCAS project and used only for its primary objective of monitoring carbon stock change in New Zealand’s planted forests therefore advancing New Zealand’s reporting commitments under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and the Kyoto Protocol. If however you are ok with the data being shared with other projects you can let us know and we can tag your dataset if indeed other parties would like to use it (for example producing maps of invasive weed distributions across the country).

Can you get a copy of data collected onsite?

Yes of course, you are welcome to the dataset collected by our teams. This will include all maps, photos, lab results and data collected onsite (shown in G). Please let our teams know you would like the dataset and we can send this to you at the end of the measurement season.

Does this inventory work out the carbon credits on my land ?

In short no. We have had many landowners interested in understanding the potential of “carbon credits” and trading schemes related to the introduction of legislation called ETS (emissions trading scheme). The LUCAS project is not associated with the ETS and has been running for several years (Natural forest surveys started in 2002). The data collected on your land would not be a sufficient sample on its own.

So what is this ETS legislation about then ?

“The Government has introduced legislation into Parliament which establishs an economy-wide Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) covering all greenhouse gases in New Zealand. The ETS is designed to allow New Zealand to meet its international climate change commitments (for example, under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol) at least cost in the long term. It will require specific people and companies to surrender emission units (NZUs) or other Kyoto Protocol emission units to match the level of emissions for which they are responsible. The NZUs will be able to be bought and sold by the private sector. For more information visit (

Where can I get more information ?

The LUCAS Project :

UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol:

MAF’s Climate Change Initiatives :

MAF’s Emission Trading Sceme for Forestry (ETS) :

MAF’s ETS Frequently Asked Questions :

In Summary

I hope you have found this information useful and please feel free to contact us if you have any further questions.

Kind Regards

David Herries

General Manager, Interpine Forestry Ltd, Phone: 021 435623



INTERPINE FORESTRY LTD     (Field survey teams)

Project Manager:     Bruce Hill         Phone: 021 435624     Email:

Logistics Contact:     Charles Chikono        Phone: 021 435871     Email:

MFE                    (Project owner)

Project Manager:     Nigel Searles         Phone: 04 439 7686     Email:


This information release has been put together by Interpine Forestry Ltd to assist landowners or interested parties help understand why we are coming onto their land to measure their trees. This is not intended as an offical information release from MFE and if landowners would like more information please review the websites listed above, and related contact details.