12 Oct 2004

A public plea for Solomons politicians to pass new bill to regulate forestry

8:36 pm on 12 October 2004

The Solomon Islands government has been called on to ensure a new bill to curb destructive forestry practices is considered in the next Parliamentary session.

Enviromental groups and international NGOs have run a letter in the Solomon Star newspaper asking the Prime Minister to support the Forestry Bill.

It is aimed at stopping abuses over ownership, and reducing the influence foreign companies can extend over landowning groups.

One of the advocates for the measure, Paul Roughan, says there are a number of other important changes, including stricter licencing and big cuts to the annual harvest.

He says they changes are vital.

"The actual loggable commercial forest will be exhausted in a little more than ten years at current rates. That is not counting acceleration, because there has been acceleration over the last few years, rather than a slowing down."

Mr Roughan says the destructive practices also destroy the livelihood of many people with soils washed away, and lagoons and reefs wrecked by the sediment.