Transform your farm with native trees

What if there was a future where you no longer had to compromise between your farm income and the wellbeing of the environment?

Verdantia Research is working with hill country farmers to create a solution: Native silvopastoral systems.

We have developed New Zealand’s first ever complete native silvopastoral system planting package for farmers keen to join us.

A new vision for your hill country

For livestock farming in New Zealand hill country, it is very difficult to balance the productivity of your operation and the costs of environmental conservation.

A potential solution for you could be native silvopastoral systems, where individual native trees are grown in paddocks at wide spacings of 12-20 metres. These systems have thrived in many regions of Spain and Portugal for a thousand years, with enduring economic and environmental benefits.

We have researched their use in New Zealand hill country farms with extremely positive results.

Who can benefit from native silvopastoral systems?

Research has demonstrated a wide range of benefits of native silvopastoral systems:

  • For the livestock farmer, our preliminary research indicates potential for over 100% increases in production under tree canopies compared to open pasture in summer dry sites.

  • The trees can be successfully established at rates of up to 98% on steep hill country when planted at the right site.

  • Plantings qualify for carbon credits under the Emissions Trading Scheme, providing income of $11,971 per ha over 30 years under the current rules.

  • The trees provide shade, which has been shown to increase cattle grazing by 41 minutes on days hotter than 25°C in New Zealand.

  • The trees would provide shelter to lambs in cold and wet springs.

  • Planting long-lived native trees can reduce landslide erosion and provide sustainable habitat for native birds.

The best part is that if you pick the right tree species it will grow for at least 100 years, providing lasting benefits to the farm.

Verdantia Research was established by Dr Tom Mackay-Smith, a Landscape Ecologist and Soil Scientist previously at Massey University, and Dr Raphael Spiekermann, a Geomorphologist and Geospatial Modeller previously at Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research.

We are both active scientists, with nearly two decades of combined research experience working on native silvopastoral systems in New Zealand and overseas. A big part of Verdantia Research will be data collection and analysis so that we can continue to develop our understanding of silvopastoral systems and share this with you.

You can find full details of our research fields and publications through the link.

The science and the scientists

Dr Tom Mackay-Smith - Co-Founder

Dr Raphael Spiekermann - Co-Founder

A complete planting package to start your transformation

For the past year we have been developing and testing a novel tree guard with excellent results so farmers can cost-effectively space-plant plant any tree they want in sheep and cattle paddocks.

For Winter 2024, we have developed a native silvopasture planting package for the North Island. Our planting package includes:

  • Our novel tree guard tried and tested in sheep and cattle paddocks.

  • Native seedlings.

  • Trees planted at various densities depending on the function of the planting (e.g. for soil conservation, shade provision, microclimate influences, carbon credits).

  • Management of the system for two years.

We are fully subscribed for Winter 2024.

If you are interested in our tree guard or planting package for 2025, please leave your details below and we will be in touch.

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