5 Oct 2005

FAO representative says Pacific governments lack information to make some decisions

11:30 am on 5 October 2005

A United Nations official says governments in the Pacific can be forgiven for not having the most accurate information on land use, when they make crucial decisions about forests.

During a Secretariat of the Pacific Community tour of grasslands in the Fiji highlands yesterday, one non-forestry official in the Fiji government said he

believed that grasslands were the natural vegetation of the area... when in fact the grass had grown after the original forests had been cut down.

Dr Thomas Enters, the regional representative of the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation, says people often fail to detect man's influence on

the wilderness.

"Naturally probably the whole island was covered by forests with very little other, other land covers so because it has been around for so long, it is viewed"

as natural. I myself come from Germany, we have some ecosystems that are heavily influenced by humans, but because they're special, we think they are natural.

Dr Enters says decisions about the national logging cut are made by budgeting officials in the ministries of finance, and not in the forestry departments.

The Secretariat of the Pacific Community hopes the meeting which ends on Thursday will persuade senior non-forestry government decision-makers to give

forestry sectors a greater share of national budgets.