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Saturday, July 15, 2006

SI will have no loggable trees by 2011: Commissioner predicts

Commissioner of Forest and North Malaitan, Gordon Konairamo predicts a gloom picture of the country's forestry within the next six years.

Speaking after discussions on the Convention to combat desertification, Mr Konairamo says Solomon Islands will be without loggable trees by 2011, if it harvests one million cubic metres of log each year.

He reveals that the amount of trees felled and exported cannot be exact because the national government only supported six log monitoring centres in Western Province.

Another Convention under discussion today was the Convention on Bio-diversity.

Presenter of the Convention, Michelle Legu says the government is not committing itself fully to the convention.

She says after the ethnic tension, government's focus was on post conflict issues instead of the environment.

Mrs Legu says the Office is still very under staff with only two officers in the Department.

But, the Commissioner of Forest confirms that four posts are being advertised for the department.

Menawhile, the Central Bank Governor Rick Hou has also raised concerns over revelations that the country's forests would be exhausted in as early as six years through logging.

Mr Hou raises the concerns following a number of inventories and studies that were conducted by forestry officers.

The studies reveal reveal that forests resources would be depleted in six years, at the current rate of harvesting, which is about four times the sustainable level.

Mr Hou says this would impact very severely on the economy, as logging accounts for 60 percent of total exports, 14 percent of governments total revenue and about 10 percent of the national GDP.

"If we reach a time when there are no more trees to cut, we don't have anything else to replace it. So, its impact on the economy would be serious, and six years is not long enough to be able to fill up the gap."

He says at present both the government and resource owners don't benefit fully from industry, otherwise government would have used revenue it collected from the industry to help local people replant their forests.

Source: SIBC Online

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