BY BEN BILUA
NATURAL Resources Development Foundation (NRDF) is looking at saving 9,821.7 hectares of forest as part of its mission to preserve and conserve forest in the country.
In an exclusive interview with Island Sun Gizo, Wilko Bosma said has saved 6,362. 7 hectares last year and is looking at saving another 3,459 hectares of forest this year.
He told Island Sun that the 6,362.7 hectares of land and forest is a combination of three conservation areas which have been legally protected.
“These conservation areas belongs to Siporae Tribal Forest Conservation, Sirebe Forest Association and Padezaka Tribal Rainforest Conservation Association.
“This year, we are looking at assisting another three tribal groups to legally protect their forest and this is where we will achieve saving 9,821.7 hectors of land and forest,” Bosma explained.
He said NRDF is working closely with Ministry of Environment, Conservation Department and also Ministry of Forestry to achieve the government’s anticipation to conserve 15 percent of the country’s forest.
“So what we do is that, we are working the ground while government institutions like the Ministry of Forestry and Environment assist in the process to register the sites as protection area.
“We face challenges at times but the good news is, we managed to help at least three conservation groups protect their forests from logging and mining,” Bosma said.
He said NRDF will continue to work with tribal groups this year with much anticipation of establishing more forest protected areas in Solomon Islands.
Bosma said more than 80 percent of the country’s forest have been damaged by logging and mining.
“While our country depends entirely on logging for its revenue, we have to look beyond logging and establish environment friendly economic activities.
“It is NRDF’s wish to support local communities to preserve their forest or harvest logs in a sustainable manner,” he said.
Natural Resources Development Foundation (NRDF) is a local organization which was established in 2004 to address the problem of the ongoing exploitation of forests resources by foreign logging companies.
As a non-governmental organization, NRDF believes that natural resources are fundamental to the wellbeing of local people and their environment and strives to provide sustainable resource management opportunities to communities in the Solomon Islands in order to protect these precious natural resources for current and future generation.
NRDF is a small organization consisting of a team of highly experienced staff members who are accompanied by several local extension officers and overseas volunteers and consultants, to strengthen the team’s capacity.
NRDF’s head office is located in Gizo, the Provincial capital of the Western Province. It also has a field office in Choiseul Province, near the village of Panarui.
Starting as a very small organization NRDF is now recognized by communities, National and International NGO’s and the Solomon Island Government as a major stakeholder in forest management and conservation activities.
In more recent years NRDF has taken the lead in linking Forest Conservation with Climate change mitigation.
As a Licensed Coordinator, NRDF implements projects that combines Forest Protected Areas with PES crediting activities under the framework and methodology of the Pacific based Nakau Programme.