Deforestation concerns

OF the 1568.720 hectares of forest cover removed in the North from August 2016 to July this year, Macuata recorded the largest forest cover removal with very little effort to reforest these areas.

A report from the Department of Forests revealed that of the 760.486 hectares of forest cover removed, only 39.98 hectares had been replaced in Macuata so far.

The report also revealed that 60.43 hectares of forest cover was replanted within Cakaudrove province to replace 203.13 hectares of cover that was removed within the same period.

“A total of 43.14 hectares of forest cover has been replanted in Bua to replace the 605.103 hectares of forests that were removed through logging practices in the same period,” the report revealed.

“Altogether 143.55 hectares of forests covers have been replanted of the 1568.720 removed.”

Considering the large logging activities within the three provinces in Vanua Levu, the Department of Forests highlighted in its report that resource owners could reforest their lands through the Fiji National REDD+ Program, Sandalwood Development Project, Indigenous Tree-planting scheme and the Reforestation of Degraded Forests scheme.

“With a budget of $400,000 the REDD+ program enabled resource owners to preserve portions of forests while the program provided them with technical advice, seedlings, nursery establishment and training in alternative livelihoods,” the report revealed.

“Under the $100,000 budgeted Sandalwood Development Project, interested resource owners were assisted to revive the cultivation of sandalwood which is recognised internationally as a high valued wood.

“Resource owners could also access the $250,000 budgeted Indigenous Tree Plan ting project which promoted the planting of indigenous trees for future social and economic development opportunities.

“Budgeted at $400,000, resource owners could also access the Reforestation of Degraded Forests scheme which encouraged and assisted communities to replant degraded forest areas.”

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