Tuesday, 6 May 2008 6:13 PM
Revenue from round-log export decline.
It is a big concern for the government when logs from the natural forest are gone in the not too long distant. This indicates lack of strategic planning by successive governments over the past years since Solomon Islands got its independance to be able to visualise the trend of the countries important resources such as that of the forest.
The government relies heavily on round log export duty thinking that the forest will be stable over time but in our case "not". The government continue to embark on selling its owned forest plantations for a few million dollars some years ago which really did not reflect the real value of the forest plantations at that time. Had the government hang on to its forest plantations which were located in different parts of the country and had the government serious about reforestation programs on government own lands and in customaryland, the trend in revenue collected from log export would be stable. Because when the merchantable forest is gone, the next succession crop should be ready in ten years time, this is if logging operations are controlled and done according to the Solomon Islands code of harvesting practice in which the forestry department has sole responsibility over.
The transission period that it takes to wait for the next natural forest harvest would be eased by harvesting trees from government plantations and even from community or family owned forest stands. I suggest that the government of the day take drastic measures to maintain only genuine logging companies, forster natural regeneration in concession areas to speed up the next available crop, re-enforce strick monitoring and avoid logging companies getting away with super small logs which are our next harvest and assist reforestation programs in all provinces.
According to the forest inventory data, the rate of harvesting is three times the sustainable rate. What have the government done about that over the passed years, had that been controlled, we can still enjoy round log export from the natural forest for the next 20-30 years, easy as that. I hope the government through its relevant departments will do better on this.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this letter/article are those of Richardson Palmer and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solomon Times Online.