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.

A Pacific Islands Forest Restoration Network
Tuesday, 23 February 2010 14:07

Forests and trees play a significant role on the economic, social, environmental and cultural development of the people in the Pacific. They constitute the natural capital and inheritance for the maintenance and sustainable development of the present and future generations of the Pacific Islanders. Unfortunately these valuable resource have been under continuous threat caused by destructive human activities associated with mining, agricultural clearing and unsustainable logging.

On Fiji’s main islands alone around 200,000 ha of productive natural forests are considered degraded. Degraded forests have lost part of their productivity and ability to provide forest products and services and need treatment if their resilience, functions and supply shall improve. Without intervention the risk to deforestation is deemed high and subsequent reforestation will come at much higher costs. If resource owners and users decide on forest reserves through a sound forest and land use planning process then appropriate silvicultural treatments meaning long-term investments are sensible.

Effective silvicultural interventions can be quite simple and beneficial to rural resource owners and users. They are well versed in agricultural practices and can easily enhance their skills to tend forest stands the right way. Some trials and initiatives of various nature have taken place throughout the Pacific region, like natural reforestation, timber stand improvement or enrichment planting with exotic timber trees.

Recognising the potential benefits of forest rehabilitation practices, the SPC  Forests and Trees Program organized a regional workshop to enhance the participants knowledge and increase their capacity to promote initiatives, as well as facilitate and advise on best practices on restoration, rehabilitation and management of deforested lands and degraded forests. The Workshop was attended by 32 participants from eight (8) countries in the Pacific consisting of knowledgeable and experienced professionals and government officials, representatives from non-government organizations (NGOs), regional and international organizations. The Workshop program consisted of three days presentation of country case studies, discussions and exchanged of informations and sharing of experience on practices on forest restoration works in their respective countries management and rehabilitation of deforested lands and degraded secondary forests in their respective countries and group works on developing strategies and approaches on forest restoration works. The participants were also treated to a one day field trip to the Teak plantation of the Future Forests of Fiji at Rakiraki, at the proposed joint project area on forest restoration of  Conservation International and Fiji Water at Yaqara and at the co-generation plant of the Fiji Pine Ltd at Lautoka.

The Australian Government, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry under the Asia Pacific Forestry Skills and Capacity Building Program provided major funding for the Workshop. The SPC/GTZ Pacific Regional Forestry Project also provided funding support to the Workshop. The workshop was held at Tanoa International Hotel in Nadi, from 28th  to 31st  October, 2008.

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