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Unsustainable logging a risk to the economy

LOGGING continues to dominate records as the highest contributing sector toward the country’s economy.

The country’s economy has survived for decades on forestry resources and now officials are signalling the red light as a result of high levels of deforestation

Report released by the Central Bank of Solomon Islands (CBSI) for 2016-2017 shows logging industry again topping the chart for being the major contributor to the economy.

But this industry is now at risk as the country’s forest is being cleared off at an alarming rate.

CBSI report revealed that extraction of natural logs have increased further in 2016 with exported log volumes rising by 17.4 percent year-on-year to 2.292 million cubic metres.

The report stated that the growth was attributed to re-entry into previous logged areas, clear felling for large projects such as bauxite mining, and increased in volumes of plantation logs.

Speaking during the question and answer session after the report was launched last week, CBSI’s Chief Manager Economic Research and Statistic Mr Michael Kikiolo said the country is at risk of losing its forest due to logging.

He said the logging issue has both positive and negative impacts on the country’s social and economic development.

Mr Kikiolo said over harvesting of our forest resources is good for our economy but will cause extensive damage to the forestry sector in the future.

He strongly emphasises that it is time for the country to strengthen other sectors to replace logging to drive the economy.

Mr Kikiolo said there are other potential sectors that are yet to be fully recognised that would lead the country’s economy.

Speaking to the media earlier this year, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Forest and Research Mr Vaeno Vigulu said the country’s forest resource is currently harvested at an unsustainable level, posing a possible decline on the country’s revenue in the future.

He stressed that the huge decline of forest resources will force resource owners to look at other alternatives to generate income to support their livelihoods and meet the increasing cost of school fees, medical fees, transportation and family basic needs.

“This will pose a huge threat to our forest resources because such situation will provide loop holes giving way for sustainable harvesting of forest resources,” Mr Vigulu explained.

Commissioner of Forest, Mr Reeves Moveni also shared similar sentiments.

He told the media that the country is facing serious deforestation due to unsustainable commercial logging.

Mr Moveni said land use in the name of development also contributes to the pressing issue that is projected to become a threat in the future if not addressed properly.

“History is aware that forest degradation in Solomon Islands often refer to the practices of logging companies and the government’s weak capacity to enforce its forestry and environmental regulations as the main underlying causes for forest degradation,” Mr Moveni explained.

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