A Forestry expert has warned that Solomon Islands forest will inevitably become a “sunset industry” facing almost a complete depletion of forest resources from 2015 up to the late 2020’s.

Dr. Shon Cheol-Ho, an expert from the National Forestry Cooperative Federation (NFCF) of Korea revealed the startling condition of the country’s forest industry during a workshop on November 27 in Honiara.

Officials from the Ministry of Forestry and Research (MOFR) in the Solomon Islands and Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) Solomon Islands Office and industry stakeholders gathered for the workshop entitled “Investigating Strategies for Improving Forest Legal System and Re-evaluating Forest Potential in the Solomon Islands” at the Mendana Hotel.

The workshop is one of the mechanisms proceeding under a Project for the Establishment of an Action Plan for Forest Resources Management in the Solomon Islands.

Dr Shon Cheol-Ho attributed the depletion of forest resources by the late 2020’s to the previous over-logging of timber without enough reforestation.

The Project is Korea’s first grant aid Project to the Solomon Islands, which is implemented by the National Forestry Cooperative Federation (NFCF) of Korea from January 2014 to June 2015 sponsored by KOICA.

Dr Shon Cheol-Ho also confirmed the forecast results in 2011 made by Sinclair Knight Merz (SKM) sponsored by the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI).

He emphasized that only active reforestation efforts will be the best option to recover the sustainability of forest resources in the Solomon Islands.

The Korean expert also stressed that the Forest Resource and Timber Utilization Act (FRTUA) is outdated to address the current urgent forest issues such as unsustainable harvesting.

Under the joint project, officials identify the need to revisit the FRTUA” and other Acts regarding forest management immediately to harmonize the current state of Forest resources.

At the workshop, the Director of the Eagon Pacific Plantation Ltd (EPPL) also requested that the Solomon Islands Government needs to make more favorable environment for industrial plantation by solving the conflicts caused by the customary land tenure system as well as promoting reforestation enterprises to increase forest plantation base.

At the conclusion of the workshop, Dr. Kim Ki Dong from also NFCF introduced a five year forest development master plan of the Republic of Korea and suggests the necessity of preparing the forestry master plan in the Solomon Islands.

Permanent Secretary of the MOFR Barnabas Anga said the workshop was very useful in the sense that it shed new light on the forest management strategy and establishment of the proposed Forest Acts.

Press Release: GCU