Forest resilience

MEMBERS of the public have been reminded to ensure that forest were made resilient through their sustainable management so that they could cope with climate change.

Officiating at the International Day of Forests celebrations in Labasa yesterday, Tui Macuata Ratu Wiliame Katonivere told people that a collective role was needed to raise awareness on the importance of forests on Vanua Levu and Fiji as a whole.

He said the theme for this year’s celebrations, “Forests and Sustainable Cities” was relevant because Fiji, such as other island countries of the Pacific, was considered one of the most vulnerable places on earth to the impacts of climate change.

“In this regard, we need to ensure that we properly build and enhance our capacity to adapt to this change,” he said.

“Forests will play a vital role in this, given the many products and services they contribute to our well-being.”

Ratu Wiliame also revealed the total forest cover on Vanua Levu was estimated at 382,055 hectares which comprised 35 per cent of the total forested area in Fiji.

“Native forests comprising of 82 per cent of the total forest cover on Vanua Levu, followed by Fiji Pine plantation with 8 per cent,” he said.

“Mahogany comprised of 7 per cent cover while mangrove comprised 3 per cent of forest cover in the North.

“During the last financial year (August 2016 to July 2017), a total forest area of 1,568.720 hectares was harvested on Vanua Levu for timber production. In terms of replanting of our forests, a total land area of 143.550 hectares was replanted on Vanua Levu during the same period which is about 9 per cent of the total area that was harvested.”

Ratu Wiliame said to meet the demand for timber and other services provided by forests, Fiji needed to continue focusing on the expansion of its forests and support investments in the reforestation of utilised land and the rehabilitation of degraded lands and forests.

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