By Mike Puia
A study conducted by World Fish in Malaita province found that logging companies that are operating in remote communities are operating carelessly since no one monitors their operations.
The study, titled “From happy hour to hungry hour: Logging, fisheries and food security in Malaita, Solomon Islands”, documents rural Malaitans’ experiences with logging.
The study was carried out by Tessa Minter, Grace Orirana, Delvene Boso and Jan van der Ploeg in logged areas in Are’Are, Lau and Langalanga between November 2016 and November 2017.
Among other things, the study found that logging operations in remote places in Malaita Province are responsible for polluted rivers and coastal waters.
The study noted that there is a tendency that logging companies are doing “highly careless logging practices”.
The study stated that licensees and logging companies capitalise on the lack of government presence in remote areas.
“Lack of government presence explains the appeal of logging companies, means that they can operate without checks and balances since police, forestry, and environment,” the study noted.
It stated government officers are either absent or do not take action.
The study found that the widespread damage to gardens, fishing grounds, forest resources and water systems remains unaccounted for and communities are often chronically immersed in frustrating complaint and damage compensation procedures.
Although the direct monetary and development benefits of logging are insignificant, the study found that logging indirectly stimulate economic activities that make greater contribution to household needs for the duration of the operation.
The study noted that the unregulated and socially and environmentally damaging nature of logging operations has highly undesirable outcomes in terms of food security and social justice.
The study maintained that logging has the potential to seriously deteriorate the nutrition status of rural households and is fractioning communities.
It stated that the forestry industry itself does not take responsibility for these issues
It concluded that logging is a burden rather than an asset as logging failed to meet its financial obligations and it does not operate in an environmentally sustainable ways.