15 May 2014

UN says forests in Pacific need urgent attention

1:48 pm on 15 May 2014

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation says the poor management of forests in the Pacific requires urgent attention.

It says natural forests in the Pacific cover an area of 186 million hectares, while planted forests cover just over four million hectares.

Forestry experts from six Pacific Island countries are gathering in Fiji this week to discuss the roles of forests in tackling climate change and natural disasters.

A forestry officer for the FAO, Aru Mathias, who is based in Samoa, says Pacific countries are becoming more aware of the importance of maintaining forests but it is a challenge.

"I believe a lot of lives are involved or dependent on the forests. Here in the Pacific we are dependent on land and land has this forest and we have all our traditional cultures attached to this forest and it would be a really sad thing if we don't look after this forest."

A forestry officer with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, Aru Mathias.