Ministry plans to retain 125 hectares of forests

THE Department of Forests in the North is 26.5 hectares short of its divisional target to rehabilitate 112.5 hectares of forests by July this year.

Forestry extension officer North Maleli Naikasava said to date, they had re-established 86 hectares of forest under the ‘Rehabilitation of Degraded Forests’ program. He said this waspart of their original divisional target to retain 125 hectares of forests in the North this financial year.

He added the divisional target was drawn from the national target set by the ministry which included an annual target to retain 500 hectares forest cover in Fiji.

“The Mali Island target of 200 hectares is part of this project too, called the ‘Rehabilitation of Degraded Forests’ but that is included in a three-year work plan,” he said.

“At the moment, we have one nursery servicing our partners in the North providing them with tree seedlings for the forest rehabilitation program.

“Currently, we have four communities in the North who are part of the program. To those communities wishing to join the program, they can wait for the next financial year which begins in August this year.”

He said the program was faced with a lot of challenges during the current financial year.

“The prolonged hot weather that we encountered during the period affected seedlings a lot,” he said.

“That is why the seedlings had to be nurtured in the nurseries before they were transferred externally to our community project partners.”