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.

Regional action plan for managing tree genetic resources
Wednesday, 25 September 2013 07:49

The draft strategic plan for the Pacific Island Tree Seed Centre (PITSC) was discussed in a pre-meeting session on Monday ahead of the Regional Forestry Meeting being held this week at Novotel Hotel, Nadi, Fiji.

A regional action plan for conserving, managing and using the region’s forest and tree genetic resources was endorsed by Pacific Ministers of Agriculture and Forestry at their meeting in Apia, Samoa, in 2008.

According to the Acting Director of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s (SPC) Land Resources Division, Sairusi Bulai, the action plan recognises that in the Pacific, no island is self-sufficient in terms of the diversity of its trees. Sharing and exchanging tree germplasm will help Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs) cope with the challenges of climate change, pests and diseases and changes in market demands.

‘To facilitate exchange of tree germplasm in the region, the action plan stated the need for a regional tree seed centre to support efficient and safe exchange of seeds of priority tree species between PICTs to sustain genetic diversity in the Pacific.’

‘SPC, through its Forests and Trees Programme, has already established the Pacific Island Tree Seed Centre at our Narere campus in Fiji, with the support of our partners – the Japan International Cooperation Agency, European Union and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. The centre has been operating since 2012,’ Mr Bulai said.

The outcome of the pre-meeting session will be presented at the Regional Forestry Technical Meeting later this week.

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