Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare says the country’s forests and trees are still safe from logging.
This comes after his government was being criticized for sending a high level delegation to China recently on a timber trade survey, sparking public uproar, with many sharing their concerns that this will threaten the forests of the country.
The Solomon Islands is the biggest exporter, after Papua New Guinea, of round logs to China, where they are processed and then as tropical hardwood products around the world, and since independence, Logging has dominated the country’s economy.
In 2016, 2.69 million cubic metres of round logs were exported, around 2.6 million cubic metres in 2017 and last year (2018) , 2.73 million cubic metres of round logs were exported,which was the largest amount the country has ever exported.
According to the Asia Times, Satellite data from the University of Maryland (UMD) visualized on Global Forest Watch shows the country lost about 179 square kilometers of tree cover in 2018. Making it the third-highest amount of loss recorded in a single year since measurements began in 2001.
But Mr Sogavare said, the country’s logging industry was currently focused on loggable areas as most parts of the country cannot be logged.
He said according to reports from the Ministry of Forestry, the country’s forests are not seriously under threat as assumed by many, however earlier this month the permanent secretary of the Ministry of forestry Dr. Vaeno Vigulu said the country’s logging industry is unsustainable.
“From the reports we took from the Ministry of forestry , we are looking are probably 2036 or something like that, before we see any real threat to our forests,” he said.
“I want to assure the people of this country that these are words from our forestry experts, that we still have that time period before we see any serious threat to our forests.”
Despite this, Mr Sogavare said his government was developing new reforms to promote reforestation and promoting a sustainable timber industry.
“We are also seriously thinking that under this reform we might take up reforestation as a important policy,not only by companies but also by landowners” he said.
By: Lowen Sei.