Productive Capacity

Many communities depend on forests directly or indirectly for a wide range of forest-based goods and services. The productive capacity of the forest determines the sustainable level at which these services can be provided. If this capacity is exceeded - for example through reduced productivity or over-harvesting - there is a risk that the forest ecosystem may decline or collapse.

Understanding the levels at which goods and services may be extracted or used without undermining the functioning of forest ecosystems and processes is the key to sustainable management.

Measuring productive capacity

The productive capacity of a forest can be measured in terms of:

(i)    timber values

(ii)    non-timber values.

  • Timber values - for example, the net forest area and standing volume of timber, and harvesting volumes and value of products - are well-monitored in New Zealand.
  • Non-timber values – for example non-wood products such as game, and possum fibre, and environmental services such as water quality protection, carbon sequestration and recreation are increasingly valued and monitored.

Trend Status