VITOGO pine landowners in Lautoka are pleading with the public to refrain from the illegal burning of pine trees and forests.
Lololo Forest Base Company Limited board member and landowner Makario Jope Kavoa supports a plea by Fiji Pine Group of Companies executive chairman Faiz Khan against unnecessary burning or lighting of fires in or around pine forests.
Mr Khan urged the public to be more responsible after the loss of 65.6hectares of two and three-year-old pine plants last week.
Over the past three years, Fiji Pine has spent $3million on replanting programs.
"I am appealing to all who live close to the Fiji Pine leased areas to assist in stopping these fires because of the losses to the Fiji Pine Group," he said.
"It is not only the company but also the landowners who lose out in the long run.
"To all villages close to or within the Fiji Pine areas, we urge you to please take precautions at this time of the year.
"I am also appealing to cane farmers within one kilometre of pine forests to be more careful about burning in and around their compound."
Mr Kavoa said pig hunters from villages within and around Lololo, Nadi and Nabou must stop lighting fires in the forest.
"I plead with all concerned to think about tomorrow and let us save our forests for the future," Mr Kavoa said.
"We should also call to mind the contribution Fiji Pine Limited and Tropik Wood Industries Ltd in providing employment to our people and the trickle-down effect of pine reforestation on the future.
"We must remember that pine reforestation is one of the major economic activities in our country."
Mr Kavoa called on vanua-based leaders to deter people from engaging in unnecessary burning.