Forest and Trees

Forests and trees play significant roles in the lives of Pacific Islanders, economically, socially, culturally and environmentally. In many Pacific island countries, especially on the smaller islands and atolls, agroforestry and tree crops provide most of the food, medicines, construction materials, firewood, tools and myriad of other products and services that cannot be replaced with imported substitutions. For the larger countries, forests have contributed significantly into their economic development in terms of foreign exchange earnings, employment and infrastructure development. Thus, a major challenge for Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs) is to ensure sustainable management of their scarce and diminishing forest and tree resources, taking into account demands for economic development and the social and environmental needs of their growing populations, LRD-SPC is addressing this under its Forest & Tree programme.

Forests, land use and people are linked
Tuesday, 13 May 2014 14:50
Dr Wulf Killmann - GIZ Pacific
Forests, land use and people are closely intertwined and inter-dependent. These were the views of Dr Wulf Killmann – Programme Director and Senior Advisor with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), during the 7th Senior Executive Forest Policy Course currently being held in Nadi, Fiji.

‘This is of relevance for countries with more tree cover, such as the Melanesian countries, as well as for islands with low forest cover.

‘The forests and trees that make up the islands’ landscapes have very high social and cultural significance. Local communities rely on their multiple benefits for their livelihood, in particular in a scarce environment such as on islands with low forest cover,’ Dr Killmann said.

He added that this close relationship between forests, land and people highlights the importance of the involvement of the forest sector in land use decision-making processes, starting from the local level and extending to national policy-making.

‘While land use planning and policy development in the Pacific are usually led by other sectors, forestry has always played a key role.’

Dr Killmann further mentioned that Fiji has in place a rural land use policy that emphasises the need for sustainable forest management plans as part of an overall national land use plan. The Fiji forest policy in turn mentions support for the development of a national land use policy.

Similarly, he added, Tonga is currently drafting its National Land Use Policy and a component of that policy relates to supporting the implementation of the Tonga Forest Policy. The forest policy was developed with assistance from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and GIZ.

‘Another major component is the protection of terrestrial biodiversity and the rehabilitation of degraded sites; hence the Pacific is already making progress in terms of a coordinated and holistic approach to its land use policy development.

'GIZ is proud to have been involved in the area of sustainable land use and sustainable forest management in the Pacific Island region for more than 25 years, during many years jointly with our trusted partner the Secretariat of the Pacific Community,’ Dr Killmann said.

Fully owned by the German Government, GIZ implements technical cooperation projects and programmes on behalf of the German Government and other donors.

At present GIZ has two regional programmes with forestry aspects, both implemented jointly with SPC:

  • The Regional REDD (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) Project Climate Protection through Forest Conservation in Pacific Island Countries, funded by the German Federal Environment Ministry (BMUB), and
  • Coping with Climate Change in the Pacific Island Region (CCCPIR), funded by the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

CCCPIR has mainly worked on forestry issues in Fiji and Vanuatu, with some work in Tonga, while the REDD Project, with funding of USD 6.3 million, works at the regional level and specifically in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Fiji.

The forest policy course that will conclude on 23 May is jointly organised by FAO, the Asia-Pacific Forest Policy Think Tank and SPC and has been supported by GIZ, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Lowering Emissions in Asia’s Forests (LEAF), the European Forest Institute (EFI), the EU/FAO Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade programme (EU/FAO FLEGT), and the Asia Pacific Association of Forestry Research Institutions (APAFRI).

[Ends]

(For more information, please contact Mr Vinesh Prasad, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it --- +679 3370773, alternatively, for any further queries, you may contact the LRD helpdesk This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .)

 

We acknowledge our major donors/partners in supporting Forestry initiatives in the Pacific