The scale and pace of sheep and beef land purchased for forestry is higher than first thought. An updated Orme & Associates report on land-use change from sheep and beef to forestry commissioned by Beef + Lamb NZ shows the amount of land sold in 2021 rose 66% compared with the previous year. Beef + Lamb NZ chief executive Sam McIvor says the report initially shows more than 52,000 hectares of land were purchased for forestry interests in 2021, but the latest revised data shows that figure to be more than 63,000ha, a 66% increase on 2020 and up from 7000ha in 2017. Policy changes led to a decrease to 36,000ha in 2022, but Sam McIvor says that figure is likely to increase and will take the total to more than 200,000ha of sheep and beef farms bought over the last five years. He says that is a significant concern for the sheep and beef sector and rural communities.