National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry (NES-PF)

The National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry (NES-PF) came into effect on 1 May 2018.

These are a single set of nationally consistent regulations under the Resource Management Act that apply to foresters throughout New Zealand creating more certainty and improving efficiency. 

If you have a forestry block larger than one hectare that was planted specifically for commercial activities and harvest, then the NES-PF will apply to you.
The NES-PF sets out rules for eight plantation forestry activities:

  • afforestation
  • pruning and thinning to waste
  • earthworks
  • river crossings
  • forest quarrying
  • harvesting
  • mechanical land preparation
  • replanting

Most forestry activities are permitted by the NES-PF so long as foresters meet specific conditions to prevent significant adverse environmental effects. If foresters can't meet these conditions they need to apply for a resource consent.

MPI have developed some resources to assist in understanding the NES-PF including this Overview of the regulations guide. 

Find out more information on the MPI website >> or for NES-PF support call: 0800 88 83 33

Amendment 2 (NES Plantation Forestry)

Prior to 1 May 2018 forestry activities in Otago were managed under the Water Plan. This changed when the NES-PF came into effect.

Regulation 6 of the NES-PF provides for more stringent plan rules to apply in particular circumstances. We have identified more stringent rules in our Water Plan in relation to discharges of sediment and bed disturbance. The primary reason for retaining these rules is to protect threatened indigenous fish (i.e. galaxiid species), many of which are found only in Otago.

An amendment to the Water Plan was made to include explanatory notes under sections 12.C and 13.5, which clarifies where stricter rules in the Water Plan will prevail over rules in the NES-PF. There is also a new Schedule 17 at the back of the plan that summarises which rules (NES-PF or plan) apply to forestry in Otago.



As defined in Regulation 3 of the Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry) Regulations 2017 (NES-PF) you are required to give notice to the council before undertaking permitted plantation forestry activities including, afforestation, earthworks, river crossings, forestry quarrying and/or harvesting.

Please use this email address for notifying Otago Regional Council of the activities that are covered by the NES-PF:

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