An industry for the future - forestry is one of the great hopes for development in the Gisborne and East Coast area and has only begun to realise its potential.
Latest official figures show the planted area in Gisborne and the East Coast at 157,545 hectares.
Last year there were 1700 people directly employed in forestry, a figure believed to have fallen to about 1500 this year due to tough market conditions. But the industry still expects that figure will rise to 2500 as more forests reach production level and processing increases.
The annual harvest stands at about 800,000 tonnes a year, slightly down from 1.2 million tonnes, and the processing figure is about 310,000 tonnes.
The latter figure is expected to rise sharply in the next two years when Hikurangi Forest Farms proceeds with its plans for a major plant.
Greater processing is seen as the future for the industry and the solution to problems such as the present downturn in the price cycle for commodity products such as logs.
The national target for processing is 60 percent of the harvest, a goal that would be a huge economic boost for this region.
The basis of the industry here is a Californian import, pinus radiata, that comprises by far the majority of the planting.
In many ways forestry in the Gisborne-East Coast region owes its existence to erosion.
Wharerata was the first major forest, with planters actually travelling by rail to the site.
Mangatu Forest followed in 1961 but the real boost came in the mid-60s with the release of the Taylor Report on erosion.
The severe erosion problem on the East Coast was taken up by the then Minister of Forests Duncan MacIntyre, urged on by the local MP Esme Tombleson.
MacIntyre spent a day with a party of government officials and locals looking at the worst of the erosion in the Tapuaeroa Valley and that night at an historic meeting in the Uepohatu Hall outlined his dream of a forest "twice the size of Kaingaroa".
The first trees were planted at Ruatoria in 1969.
The history of forestry since has been one of swings and roundabouts.
For some years forestry was restricted by local government behind the famous "Blue line" shown in the Taylor Report.
Major developments included the demise of the Forest Service, which carried out all the early planting, the arrival of Juken Nissho in the early '90s - first buying the Wharerata and Patunamu Forest cutting rights and then building a major mill at Matawhero which processes about 230,000 tonnes a year - the sale of cutting rights to first Rayonier and then Huaguang, and the announcement just before the last election that Hikurangi Forest Farms also plans a major mill.
Present difficulties are seen as a temporary setback and forestry is expected to play a major part in the future prosperity of the region.