With a shuddering jolt, a 30-year-old radiata pine bites the dust in Kinleith Forest, part of New Zealand's largest plantation forest region-the vast volcanic plateau between Rotorua and Taupo. Pinus radiata, once an obscure botanical oddity clinging to existence on the California coast, has become New Zealand's great timber tree, covering 1.3 million hectares of land and forming the basis of a billion-dollar-a-year export industry.
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