Forestry Minister Shane Jones says planting grants from the One Billion Trees Fund are aimed at supporting landowners to get the best out of their land by integrating trees into the landscape, rather than enabling whole farm conversions.
The fund has come under fire from critics who say it is leading to a decline in pastoral farming.
But Mr Jones says all grants so far approved have been for areas of land under 140 hectares, with about two thirds for applications under 50 hectares.
The Fund includes $118 million for tree planting grants, with a target of supporting two-thirds natives.
So far $2.2 million in grants have been approved, with $1.5 million of that or 80 percent of projects going to native tree planting.
Mr Jones says the fund will support tree planting that allows landowners to diversify income, improve land productivity, address environmental issues like erosion, water quality and climate change, increase habitats for a range of native species and enhance natural landscapes.
In total, the Fund has received 237 applications for tree planting grants and approved 36 grants covering 1100 hectares.