A national forestry initiative to establish plantations of eucalypts in the country's driest regions has had further support from the Government's Sustainable Farming Fund.
The Dryland Forests Initiative aims to reduce the reliance on imports of Australian and tropical hardwoods and to provide a supply of poles and posts to replace the use of treated pine in vineyards and orchards.
The project has established 120,000 trees in trials from Bay of Plenty to North Canterbury.
Project manager Paul Millen says the latest $216,000 grant will allow it to move into a new phase of research.
He says the research needs to explore productivity of the species being bred as well as the genetic improvement programme itself.
"This new funding is focused on the productivity of the species. We have a series of trials that were established in 2011 and we got some very good establishment results and so we want to continue measurement of those and management of those trials towards post and pole crops."
Mr Millen says landowners and other supporters will provide another $318,000 in cash and other contributions.
The project aims to be substituting locally grown trees for imported hardwoods from 2035, with the potential to create a high value hardwood export industry in East Coast regions, as well.