3 Oct 2005

Regional forestry experts says Fiji biodiversity threatened by pine plantations

1:21 pm on 3 October 2005

A senior official at the Secretariat of the Pacific Community says commercial pine plantations have threatened biodiversity in Fiji.

The Secretariat's Forests Adviser, Sairusi Bulai, is organising a four-day conference which aims to educate

senior non-forestry decisionmakers about the value of sustainable forest management.

Mr Bulai says pine planters in Fiji threatened biodiversity by clearing native forests.

But he says Fiji Pine Limited is moving out of areas where natural bush is coming back

"So they are actually encouraging the coming on of the natural vegetation to take over the pine areas. So to me I look at pine development, it's the first to rehabilitate the grasses that were there before. In the long term we have to look at it that way. Pine industry is providing a livelihood for the landowners but at the same time we have to look at it in respect to the environment in terms of bringing back the natural vegetation."