Forest owners have at last been told how carbon credits will be given to the sector under the emissions trading scheme.
Agriculture and Forestry Minister Jim Anderton has issued a draft allocation plan for pre-1990 forestry emissions units.
Under the Kyoto Protocol agreement, plantation trees are counted as absorbers of carbon dioxide while growing, but lose it all if they are not replanted after harvest.
After a campaign by owners, the Government agreed to partially compensate them for large costs they would face for de-foresting.
MAF's principal climate change adviser Bryan Smith says the new plan gives a formula for the allocation of 55 million units for forests planted before 1990.
Because no one knows how much they will finally be worth, Mr Smith says he does not know how many forest owners will want to be involved.
Owners with pre-1990 forests have until mid-2009 to apply.