EXCESSIVE SOLOMONS LOGGING THREATENS FORESTS

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Annual harvest more than double sustainable level

By Moffat Mamu HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, March. 19, 2011) - Solomon Islands has over harvested its natural rainforest for the past three years at a rate exceeding one million cubic meters per year which is unsustainable.

This was highlighted by the Ministry of Forestry at the 2011 budget estimates hearing before the public accounts committee (PAC) yesterday.

One of the officials from the ministry told the committee that the country was supposed to harvest only 400,000 cubic meters per year.

"But the country has harvested more than what is required at 1 million cubic meters per annum which is unsustainable," he said.

He told the committee that based on an inventory study undertaken in 2004 and the rate of harvesting being undertake at the moment, the country would see a decline in its natural forest by 2015.

The officer added by 2019 there would not be any logs from the natural forest to export except for logs from forest plantations.

It was highlighted that forest plantations are now one of the options which the Government is undertaking to replace the natural forest as part of its reforestation exercise.

The ministry said it wanted to encourage small holder plantations from communities to undertake such forest plantation.

Currently Eagon Pacific Plantation Limited and Kolombangara Forestry Products Limited (KFPL) both in Western and Choiseul are involved in forest plantation.

The decline in logging would also affect the country’s economy which heavily relied on logging revenue for the past years.

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