Wednesday, 28 May 2008 2:14 PM

Government Fails to use Timber Levy on Reforestation

Dear Editor.

I have read with interest the comments made by Kaipua with reference to the use of the 7% Reforestation Levy. In fact the Central Government collects 7% from logging company's exports intended for reforestation or rehabilitation of logged over areas; had the government utilized that portion for reforestation activities, two reforestation mechanisms would have been inplace;

1. Facilitating of natural regeneration to speed up the next rotation in which the similar forest will regenerate in 10-20 years depending on the intensity of the harvesting operation and the nature of the natural regeneration scheme and

2. Total reforestation programme especially on areas that are logged; this means replanting with species that are of commercial value in which the forestry department should be in a better position to facilitate this.

Today, very little or nothing at all from the 7% reforestation levy has been used for its intended purporse. It would have been better if the logging companies or the landowning groups could be given that portion to implement reforestation activities on affected areas.

With regards to what is left (the merchantable forest), areas that are accessible for commercial logging would be all used up very soon (10-15years time) if the current rate of 650,000 cubic meters harvested annually is not reversed, I can't rule out at this stage that we still have significant forest areas remaining, but this areas are in accessable, wet lands that needs to be protected, heritage and cultural historical sites that should be presrved and catchment areas that maintains and regulates the flow of our streams and rivers. if we take a stock take of this areas and put them aside, we definately will have less areas remaining for commercial logging even in 5 years time.

According to the survey conducted by the Forestry department in year 2003-2004, there should be a decline in government revenue from round log export by year 2015 upwards. The trend is now eminent and with the current rate of harvesting, we should not ignore the fact that there will be a drastic decline in commercial forest areas in five years time.

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.

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