Undersized logs

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Logging in Vanikoro harvests trees below legal requirements

By Mike Puia


UNDERSIZE trees are reportedly logged on Vanikoro in Temotu Province.

An eyewitness confirms to Island Sun that the trees are logged by Gallego Resource Limited, an Asian logging company.

The eyewitness, speaking on condition of anonymity, who is a resource owner, questions authorities to confirm the size required by law to be harvested and exported.

He said what he saw on Vanikoro recently makes him worry about the future of the tiny islands’ forest.

Vanikoro is a group of islands surrounded by a single belt of coral reef. The total area of the Vanikoro group is about 170 square kilometres.

Only two islands (Banie and Teanu) are inhabited. Logging operation took place at Banie Island- the main island. This group of island belongs to the Temotu Vatud constituency.

Gallego Resource Limited commenced operation on Banie Island about three years ago. It has been issue a licence to harvest the entire island.

The company is reportedly moving to its third camp.

The resource owner said he visited a site where logs harvested on the island are piled and took photos of the logs harvested.

He said many logs are undersize.

The former logging worker said based on what he understands the required log size should have a log-head diameter of 50cm.

He said log-head size of most logs harvested at Banie Island have a diameter of 30cm.

“This size is very small. They’re almost like firewood,” the resource owner said.

He appealed to the Ministry of Forestry to clarify the harvest size of logs.

He also appealed to the Ministry and the Temotu provincial government to visit Gallego Resource Limited operation on Banie Island to confirm his report.

He said the rate and size of harvest going on at Banie Island represent a threat to the livelihood and resources of his people- especially their children.

This paper made several call to Gallego Resource Limited office in Honiara after 4pm yesterday but there were no answer.

There was no answer to calls made to the Ministry to confirm the size required in logging operation.

This report brings the question of sustainable harvesting of the country’s forest.

Reports noted, the rate of harvest to the country’s logs is more than 19 times higher than sustainable levels and if continued could denude the country and soon exhaust the single biggest contributor to the country’s economic growth.

Though the Ministry has previously said it had toughened regulations to address issues in the logging sector, there remains lack of enforcement capacity.