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Solomon Star Honiara, Solomon Islands

March 15, 2000


The new forest act, which is soon to be implemented, will ensure that the forest resources are sustainably harvested so that not only the present generations benefit but also the future ones.

The new act, which has been passed by Parliament and gazetted, is necessary to protect the forests from disappearing, thus protecting the livelihood of the people of this nation.

Forests are important because people make gardens in them, preserve their culture -- hence it is part of their heritage.

Uncaring logging companies in the past destroyed tabu places of the people because what they were worried about was to get money from round logs. This must not be repeated -- thanks to the provisions contained in the new act.

The old act did very little to protect the preciousness of our forests. Many countries in the world have lost their forests due to heavy logging and this must not happen in Solomon Islands.

The old act also did not promote the development of a timber industry that ensures maximum benefit to Solomon Islanders.

Nor did it ensure that forest resources on customary ownership are harvested only after a proper procedure for determining customary forest rights.

The new act also aims to ensure that proposed harvest areas are suitable for the purpose and that all parties are fairly treated in all timber sale agreements.

At its implementation, the appropriate authorities must ensure that the act is properly policed because without this, the most important features of the act could be easily overlooked, especially by licensed companies operating on customary land and who want to make quick money.

Eco-logging is one major way of protecting the forests to benefit the future generations. This is so because only mature trees are felled, taking care that young trees are carefully missed from being destroyed.

The Solomon Western Islands Fair Trade (SWIFT), which has been operating for many years in Western and Choiseul provinces, has now given landowners the confidence to do their own eco-logging.

By doing their own operation, they would certainly not miss preserving their resources for their future generations.

It also benefits the country as a whole, with more than 50% of income coming from logging revenue.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: 

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