Friday, 14 September 2007 10:05 AM

Forest Harvest Rates, Three Times Sustainable Level

The Solomon Islands is currently on the verge of a possible economic crisis given the fact that the country's forest stock is harvested at three times the sustainable level.

The latest National Resource Assessment Update shows that the current harvest is more than three times the sustainable level and, if nothing is done to address the issue, the country's forest stocks will be gone in several years.

The government has, in the past and at present, been warned of the huge economic implications if the harvest rates are maintained at its current levels.

"I have been asked why there is so much fuss about de-forestation when, if you look around, there are huge forest stock throughout Solomon Islands. I think it is important for people to understand that what is of concern here are forest stock of commercial value," stated an economist who wished to remain anonymous.

"Forest stocks of commercial value are harvested much faster then sustainable rates and, considering the huge contribution it has towards overall import earnings, this is a looming disaster."

In similar vein, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Forestry, Charles Viva, told Radio New Zealand that there is a huge concern given the importance of forestry to the Solomon Islands economy.

"Our concern now is the gap between the decline of the harvesting of the natural forest and the harvesting of plantation forest. This 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."

Mr Viva went on to say that his Ministry will be working hard to at establishing a re-forestation programme involving plantings of teak, mahogany and eucalyptus, which he says can mature in ten to 18 years.

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