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Official says Forestry Act is ‘powerless’

By Denver Newter

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, April 23, 2012) – Log export in the country will drop by 2015.

This was revealed by an official from the ministry of forestry.

The officer who declined to be named said the drop comes as a result of ongoing over harvesting by commercial logging companies currently operating in the country.

The officer also noted that they have found harvesting of logs in the country as being unsustainable and excessive where extraction of annual volume cubic supposed to be harvested each year had tripled.

"This is the main reason why log exports will drop by 2015," the officer said.

The officer also pointed out that the Act of forestry to stop logging in the country is very shallow and powerless.

"Many companies operating in the country are harvesting logs in whatever amount or cubic they want because the ministry have no laws to stop them harvesting the log," the officer claimed.

"The ministry can only step in when they damage logs, land disputes and trespassing.

"But to stop them from operating as a result over-harvesting cannot be done by the ministry," he said yesterday.

The officer also added that the ministry cannot do much because logging is currently the main revenue earner for this country than fisheries, agriculture and others.

With the logs fast declining the officer said one option now is for landowners to undertake downstream processing through trainings and encourage them to continue undertaking reforestation to supplement volume of logs being exported in the future.

It is understood at the moment Western province tops the table of being highest province to export logs.

This was followed by Isabel and Malaita province.

Currently two of the companies undergoing reforestation in the country are Eagon and Kolombangara Forestry Products Limited based in the Western province.

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