10 Jul 2012

China's baby boom a boon for foresters

6:30 am on 10 July 2012

New Zealand forest owners have discovered a new niche market for pruned logs - Chinese furniture makers specialising in baby cots.

It is the year of the dragon in China, which is a particularly auspicious time to have a baby, someone who is destined to be self-assured, clever, generous and loyal.

The Forest Owners Association says foresters are already benefiting from a spike in demand for pruned radiata, which has driven up the price of a log to more than double that of its unpruned counterpart.

Chief executive David Rhodes says the sudden demand for baby cots shows how important China is as an export market.

"We're not pining our future on this, it's just an example of when you get it right, New Zealand radiata can actually be used for some very lucrative end use purposes."

He says China's increasing wealth will see more use of radiata pine for higher end products.

Mr Rhodes says more than 60% of New Zealand's log exports now go to China, and about every one in five logs is pruned.