Forestry logging

The impact of logging on freshwater quality, soil health, erosion and sediment must be managed.

Forest harvesting on an area of more than five hectares requires a resource consent if any part has a slope of greater than 28 degrees.

What you need to know

  • The discharge of stormwater and sediment into water from earthworks associated with the formation of roads, tracks and landing sites etc, may also require a resource consent. This depends on the area and volume of soil disturbed and whether detailed conditions set out in the Freshwater Plan can be met.
  • A site erosion and sediment control plan is required.
  • Earthworks associated with new tracks should not occur within 5m of a river or wetland unless they connect to an approved crossing point or are for the maintenance or upgrading of an existing track.
  • Any areas of disturbed soil must be stabilised or revegetated as soon as practicable (generally no later than 18 months from the date of the harvesting).
  • Water run-off and sediment controls must be installed and maintained for tracks and landing sites.
  • Batters, cuts and side castings must be left in a stable state to prevent slumping.
  • Vegetation must felled away from and not dragged through any watercourse, lake or wetland.
  • Slash must be removed from areas where it has the potential to block or divert river flow, cause bank erosion, or damage existing infrastructure.
  • Slash associated with landing sites and processing sites must be placed on stable ground and contained to prevent accumulated slash from causing erosion or land instability.
  • Any discharge to surface water should not, after reasonable mixing, cause the production of conspicuous oil or grease, films, scums or foams, or floatable or suspended materials, or any conspicuous change in the visual clarity or colour of the receiving water.
  • The activity and associated discharges to surface water should not restrict fish passage or take place in an area and at a time that impacts on fish spawning and migration.
  • The Council must be notified, in writing, of the location and timing of the activity at least 15 working days prior to the commencement of the activity.

The Council will consider the proposed methods for erosion and sediment control, slash management, the timing of harvesting and general measures to avoid or mitigate any adverse effects on surface water.

These are based upon industry best practice guidelines, which can be downloaded below:


Advice should be sought from the Council’s consents staff on any requirements relating to applications for resource consent.

You should check whether clearing or disturbing indigenous vegetation is also controlled by your local district council to protect the  ecological or amenity values of the bush.

If you are logging indigenous forest for milling, you may need to obtain a permit from the Ministry for Primary Industries.

Government requirements

The Government is proposing to introduce a National Environmental Standard for Plantation Forestry. The national standards could replace a number of the Council’s requirements for forestry logging activities.

You should check the Ministry for the Environment’s website, www.mfe.govt.nz, for the latest information.

Contact Us

Resource consents team Phone: 0800 736 222 Email an enquiry