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.

Japan assists with SPC’s Forest Tree Seed Centre
Thursday, 12 May 2011 12:47

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has donated crucial laboratory equipment worth FJD120,000 to the Secretariat of the Pacific Community for its new Regional Forest Tree Seed Centre.

JICA Chief Representative Juichiro Sasaki presented the equipment to SPC Land Resources Division Director Inoke Ratukalou at a handover ceremony held yesterday at SPC’s Centre for Pacific Crops and Trees at Narere.

‘The importance of forest conservation and sustainable management in Pacific Island countries has been recognised, and many local and international organisations, including  the Government of Japan, are working towards the proper use of forest resources and forest land conservation,’ said Mr Sasaki.

The equipment consists of a walk-in cold storage facility, a drying oven, a microscope, electric scales, water distillation apparatus, GIS software, GPS devices, computers, a digital camera, other laboratory equipment and consumables.

‘The establishment of a regional forest tree seed centre is a vital component for the conservation and management of forest genetic resources in the Pacific,’ said Mr Ratukalou.

He told the gathering that the Centre would focus on facilitating the safe and efficient exchange of seeds of selected trees amongst Pacific Island countries and territories. ‘The selected tree species will include regionally important timber, fruit and nut tree and shrub species, as well as species of particular importance for their resistance to cyclones, and for the protection of atolls and coastlines,’ he said.

The new Centre will also undertake research and provide training for Pacific Island countries and territories in seed collection, treatment, storage and propagation.

Mr Sasaki said, ‘With these donations, it is expected that the Regional Forest Tree Seed Centre will strengthen SPC’s existing operations, not only in Fiji but in other Pacific countries as well.

‘We look forward to a more collaborative approach, working closely with SPC towards the sustainable management of forests in Pacific Island countries,’ he added.

Also speaking at the handover was Sairusi Bulai, SPC’s Forest and Trees and Forest and Agriculture Diversification Coordinator, who said that the success of the Forest Tree Seed Centre depends on regional cooperation among SPC member countries to share their genetic resources with other member countries, as well as financial and technical support from international and regional partners of its operational and related activities.

ENDS

(For more information please contact Rajan Sami on phone 3370733 or email: 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