THERE is a need for capacity-building for forestry officers in sustainable forest management practices research while extension services need to be improved.
This was a recommendation by USP's Professor Biman Prasad at a forestry workshop in Nadi this week.
"I think governments need to look at very closely their research and extension training programs for its officers and also to support small scale and private forestry plantations," he said.
"I think there are good examples of reforestation programs which can not only provide sustainable environment development but also economic benefits in terms of providing timber of value for our own use and also timber of value for exports."
Prof Prasad said capacity-building for forestry officers had always been an issue.
"I want to emphasise this because at least for Fiji, about 20 years ago, we had very good research and extension training programs but unfortunately in the last 20 to 25 years, whether you are talking about forestry, agriculture, or livestock, it has been totally decimated.
"Part of the reason why we see failure in agriculture policies, forestry policies, livestock policies is largely because we don't have that capacity for research training.
"And my message to governments here in Fiji and those in the region is that by putting money into the training of every primary officer in every sector can contribute to increased productivity levels and lead to more positive outcomes for the industry as a whole."
The USP academic recommended that the sharing of knowledge, expertise and information on sustainable forest management practices among Pacific Island countries could lead to the adoption of a more regional approach to forestry issues.