13 Sep 2007

Call in Solomon Islands to slow forest harvest until plantation trees are ready

11:46 am on 13 September 2007

Solomon Islands forestry officials hope that harvesting of timber can be slowed enough to close the gap before fast growing exotics are ready.

The National Resource Assessment Update shows that the current harvest is more than three times the sustainable level and the country's forest stocks will be gone in several years.

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Forestry, Charles Viva, says this is a huge concern given the importance of forestry to the economy.

He says they hope to redirect the industry into plantation wood with a re-afforestation programme involving plantings of teak, mahogany and eucalyptus, which he says can mature in ten to 18 years.

"But our concern now is the gap between the decline of the harvesting of the natural forest and the harvesting of plantation forest is an area of concern for the government, because if the harvesting of the natural forest occurs faster than the re-planting we will have a wide gap."