We will have to work on alternative commodities from our forests, either to add from the current reliance or fill in the gap that round log export will create as we continue to reduce round logs export due to its descending supply from our forests.”
Ministry of Forestry and Research Permanent Secretary, Dr Vaeno Vigulu told this to participants at the 8th Forest Sector Technical Working Group (FSTWG) meeting held at the Heritage Park recently.
FSTWG is being organised and coordinated by the JICA Sustainable Forest Resource Management Project with the Ministry of Forestry and Research.
“Over decades and till today, our country depends heavily on forest timber resources for revenue generation, housing materials, furniture makings and ecosystem services.
“And this will continue to do so into the next decade and beyond, as the demand for revenue increases with increasing reliance on our forest resources for increasing population and increasing dynamic demands.”
He adds forestry is an important sector that generated much of the government and resource owners’ revenues, materials and ecosystem services in the past decades until recently.
The Permanent Secretary explains that for “over last 5 years, an average of 2.5 million m3 of round logs were exported, this represents approximately SBD $540 million annually over the period, which represents approximately 20% of the government revenues and around 60% of export.
“That showed, forestry sector is one of the major drivers of the national economy of our country.”
Dr Vigulu then urges for a quick turn to alternative forest products as a means to sustain the many uses of the forest going forward;
The government in particularly the Democractic Coalition Government for Advancement (DCGA) through the Ministry of Forestry and Research is driving this swift and would like to see all other relevant groups within the forestry sector to follow suit.
Especially in promoting non-timber forest products and aesthetic values of the island rainforests to support livelihoods through eco-tourism, to reduce and moving away from reliance on timber products.
This would indeed help to reduce further degradation of rainforests and promote sustainable forest resources management, to progressively support the economy and with national collaborative attempt in addressing climate change in the long term, further explains the Forestry Permanent Secretary.
“The commitment shown is in the redirection priority policies of DCGA for 2021 encompassed promotion of downstream processing activities and sustainable development of logging programme to ensure and promote principles of sustainable forest management, good practice, monitoring, governance, work on alternative forest timber and non-timber products, ecosystem services through agroforestry systems, reforestation, enrichment and regeneration management on the logged over islands degraded and deforested landscapes.
“The measures taken indicated the seriousness of the DCGA Government in reviewing and developing measures to sustainably manage the forest resources as we continue to harvest and benefit from them.”
The Permanent Secretary further adds that the Ministry had collaborations with donor partners on various strategies and activities, addressing and enhancing the ongoing priority policy area objectives of 2021 and it is proper that we update and discuss with each other, donor partners and stakeholders what Policy areas the Ministry implements using the government budget.
And also, share with us potential supports to Government Policies or your Work Programme areas where we can align to mutually benefit communities and resource owners through Government Policies.
In doing so, your support will assist and support the government initiatives to sustain and reduce the exploitation and reliance on forest timber products, hence, promoting sustainable forest management, says Dr Vigulu.