30 Mar 2007

NZ academic welcomes Australian plan to tackle deforestation

3:52 pm on 30 March 2007

A New Zealand academic has welcomed a new 160 million-US dollar fund set up by Australia's government to tackle global deforestation in places like Indonesia's Papua province.

Australia's Prime Minister says the scheme, which will focus firstly on Indonesia with programmes which push sustainable forestry and reduce illegal logging, will have a greater impact on climate change than the Kyoto Protocol.

But Australia's opposition parties have criticised the scheme, saying the government should address domestic forestry problems first.

However Dr Sean Weaver, a Senior Lecturer in Environmental Studies at Wellington's Victoria University, says it's good to see some financial initiative put towards fighting deforestation.

With the help of British government funding, Dr Weaver is currently testing carbon crediting mechanisms for reducing forest-based emissions in Vanuatu:

"If they can use carbon credits as a way to finance sustainable development, it means that there's a private sector income stream coming from developed countries to help fund forest conservation in Vanuatu, in a country where the government has very little money to spare to do these kinds of things so the Australian fund that's just been announced is a fund that we'll certainly try to apply to, to maybe get some funding for phase two of our project."

Dr Sean Weaver