20 November 2011
LEISURE VALUE OF FORESTS BUILDS ON ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE
A new forestry study has highlighted the importance of New Zealand’s plantation forests for recreational purposes.
Day by day, week by week, thousands of mountain bikers and walkers already make the most of the country’s forests for outdoor adventure. But this added value to our downtime has never been assessed in monetary terms.
Now, the recreational assets of Whakarewarewa Forest near Rotorua have been calculated at five times the forest’s annual timber revenue – for mountain biking alone.
This result is consistent with other similar studies in the developed world showing that non-market values are higher than tangible forests products such as logs, wood and pulp.
The findings come from a study by Crown Research Institute Scion based on a survey of 709 forest users. The study provides an economic measure of the community good that forests provide – free of charge - compared with the value of the forest for timber.
Researchers employed an economic valuation tool called ‘travel cost method’ to calculate the forest’s annual recreational value in simple terms by multiplying the estimated average value per visit by the number of visits each year.
The formula shows that Whakarewarewa Forest has a median recreational value of $5.2 million for walking and $10.2 million for mountain biking per year.
Jane Arnott, chief executive of NZ Wood, says New Zealand forests currently add $4.6 billion to export revenues, but just as importantly at the ground level, they provide superb facilities for recreational joys – often at no extra charge to the user.
“Without plantation forests and their helpful owners and managers many New Zealanders would have to go without their recreational hobby of choice, from mountain biking to horse riding or walking,” she said.
“Forests provide a sheltered, robust environment that’s ideal for year-round family adventure.
“And what’s really great about our plantation forests is that while the majority are owned offshore, and represent multi-million dollar pension funds, absolutely everyone can enjoy them,” Ms Arnott said.
In New Zealand, 26.2 million days are spent on recreation each year, with forest activities accounting for a major proportion.
Of those, mountain biking is growing fast.
According to Statistics NZ, there has been a 93 per cent increase in the number of bikes imported, compared with 10 years ago. And the number of cyclists grew by 81 per cent between 2000 and 2008.
New Zealand forests contain some of the ‘world’s most outstanding’ bike tracks, according to Bike New Zealand, and seen by the masses of riders heading for well-worn tracks every weekend at Auckland’s Woodhill Forest, Whakarewarewa Forest, or Eskdale Mountain Bike Park in Napier.
This trend is likely to continue with the total number of forest visitors expected to climb one per cent per year to 2014.
This research shows that forests are even more of an investment into the future with the potential to provide significant recreational value on top of their timber value.
The benefits of these resources can only continue to grow.
Reference: Non-timber Values from Planted Forests: Recreation in Whakarewarewa Forest;
James A. Turner, Bhubaneswor Dhakal, Richard Yao, Tim Barnard and Colin Maunder
NZ JOURNAL OF FORESTRY, February 2011 Vol. 55 No. 4
For more information please contact: Jane Arnott CEO NZ Wood 021 807 002
06 May 2011
By Simon Kennett, as published in NZ MTBer
There's a new style of mountain biking slowly spreading across the globe – call it a dirt brevet, bikepacking, or fat tyre randoneering if you like. It doesn't matter. It's about travelling light and covering big distances. Eighty kilometres a day is good for a starter; 250 kilometres isn't out of the question. When that includes gravel roads and dirt tracks, you can expect to be riding from dawn to dusk.
Sometimes it's an event, like the Tour Divide; usually it's just a bunch of mates out to see as much of the country as they can in a long weekend. Of course, the best way to see the country is from the saddle of a bike. The best way to see a lot of country is to travel light and quick.
New Zealand is well blessed with rough-stuff touring terrain. Where else could you see rainforest, glaciers, alps and grasslands all in the same day? Over 35 000 kilometres of quiet sealed roads, a similar number of unsealed road kilometres, 200+ mountain bike rides,and countless 4WD tracks provide almost endless opportunites. But our young terrain demands good gear choice, as well as good legs. After 25 years of touring, I'm still learning, but here's the set-up I enjoyed at the recent 500km Te Tawhio o Whanganu:
29er – the big wheels roll a little easier over rocky roads
Stans Crow tyres – minimal tread means low rolling resistance and light weight. At 40 PSI they will absorb most normal road shock.
Front Suspension – comfort, even on 4WD tracks, is a big part enjoying a long day off pavement
Aero bars (with extra padding) – a handy place to hang a bag, rest a map, and a position that gives hammered palms a chance to recover. Useful in a headwind, too.
Front bag – 5 ltr dry bag, for clothes
Seat bag – About 5 ltr, for tools, first aid, food, rear light, etc
Spare tube taped above BB – tucked out of the way
Sleeveless riding top
Woolen riding top
Lycra shorts x2 (with talc powder)
Pair of baggies
Wool socks x2 pair
Long fingered gloves
First aid kit
Spoon & can opener
Spare tube taped to frame
Cash and Cards
Contact details & guidbook notes
Reflective ankle bands
2 large water bottles (1x H2O, 1x Sports drink)
Raisin biscuits or OSM
Emergency Powerbar & drink powder
Total bike and gear weight = 15kg
The weight is critical for touring in most parts of New Zealand. The Tawhio had over 6 000 metres of climbing in four days, which is normal when using scenic backroads. On the most adventurous routes, some bike pushing is often part of the deal - you must be able to carry your loaded bike. If you carry enough gear to be prepared for every possible problem you might encounter, you'll have created a problem that you can be sure you'll encounter (right from the very first pedal stroke).
Gear I also considered:
Small backpack to increase food carrying capacity, and water purification tablets. Not needed as towns were fairly close together.
Small sleeping bag, bivvy bag and closed cell foam mat (on a Freeload rack). Not needed due to good accommodation options available. However, lightweight summer camping gear needn't increased the load by more than 2 kg, and it opens up a huge array of itinerary options.
Gear I wish I'd had:
A couple more maps (1:50,000 topomaps)