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High fuel costs have resulted in using mangrove as firewood

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Nov. 12, 2008) - A ban on the cutting of mangrove for commercial purposes has been placed on the delta province.

Rewa Provincial Council vice chairman Pita Tagicakiverata said the province was told by the Department of Fisheries and Forestry about the importance of the mangrove swamps and trees to the food chain and sustenance of marine life.

[PIR editor’s note: Conservationists say Fiji’s mangrove forests could be gone within the next 20 years. The rising cost of fuels coupled with a growing population has put increasing pressure on mangroves for use as firewood. ]

The province has found out that some people have been cutting the mangroves for commercial use.

"There has been a lot of unnecessary cutting of our mangroves and it is affecting fish and marine life that depend on it for food. "So we have decided to place a ban on mangrove cutting in all villages in the province until such time the council decides to lift the ban," said Mr. Tagicakiverata.

He emphasized that villagers were only allowed to cut mangroves for home use such as firewood and to build a house.

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