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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (June 17, 1998 - PACNEWS/Ioane)---The people of Big Ngela in Central Province achieved a significant victory when a freighter loaded with their timber left Honiara Tuesday for the New Zealand market.

The Greenpeace representative in the Solomon Islands, Philip Pupuka, said the timber produced by the Kema Bona Ecoforestry Project is seen as a significant achievement after the "disastrous logging of Pavuvu Island's forests" by the Malaysian logging company, Maving Brothers, which had been rejected by the landowners on Big Ngela.

Pupuka said the success of the Ngela ecoforestry project proves that the local landowners "can kick the foreign loggers out, manage their own forests and keep the profits for themselves." He said ecoforestry protects the rights of the customary landowners, allows sustainable harvesting of timber and provides income and employment for village people.

The Kema Bona Ecoforestry Project is one of a network of projects under the joint Ecoforestry Program of the Solomon Islands Development Trust, Greenpeace, New Zealand Imported Tropical Timber Group and the Komuniboli Training Center on Ngela.

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