DEAR EDITOR, a report recently commissioned by the Solomon Islands’ ministry of finance suggested that if logging continues at its current pace, natural forests will be exhausted by 2036.
“The hugely unsustainable rate of logging, the high risks of illegality and the fact that the industry does little to benefit local people all create a bleak picture.
“Global Witness used satellite imagery and drone photography to determine the rate at which logging is taking place in the Solomon Islands.
“These images revealed vast swathes of deforested land, as well as over 12,000 km (7456 miles) of logging roads criss-crossing the tiny nation.
“One in every 20km of logging road in the Solomon Islands is above 400m in altitude, despite specific efforts by the government to limit deforestation in these zones.
“In their report, Global Witness highlighted China as a particularly worrying player in this situation. The Solomon Islands the second biggest source of tropical logs to China, after Papua New Guinea, the large Asian nation requires no checks to ensure these imports are legal or sustainable.
“As their investigation found these was a high risk that logging companies were not seeking permission from many local landowners or avoiding prohibited places, Global Witness concluded that some of the timber leaving these islands is likely illegally sourced.”
In a separate reported released by Radio New Zealand today (Thursday)the environmental group Global Witness is calling for a moratorium on all logging operations in the Solomon Islands.
“The report said logging companies are operating without the permission of local landowners, in prohibited places and without paying taxes owed.
“Global Witness Campaign Leader, Beibei Yin, said both China and the Solomon Islands need to put in place better protections.