Landowners advised to be wary of unethical loggers

TLTB regional manager Northern Josaia Waqairatu (left). Picture: FT FILE

The iTaukei Land Trust Board (TLTB) said of the three tree felling licences facilitated by it, investors normally abused the free issue licence to have their own ways.

TLTB northern branch manager Josaia Waqairatu said logging companies were now avoiding the logging licence which required them to produce an environment impact assessment report and inventory report.

Mr Waqairatu told landowners in Navakuru, Cakaudrove that investors were approaching landowners directly with promises of fulfilling their needs, for instance roads, water, electricity or similar.

“Last month I received a lease application from a youth in Nadogo for logging of trees on 1000 acres of land to build a church,” he said.

“When I saw the size of the church it was way smaller than the amount of trees in the land area intended to be logged so I refused the lease.

“Instead I advised our personnel to give the applicant a logging licence suspecting a sinister plan.”

Mr Waqairatu told landowners they needed to be smart, adding that in the business world, everyone was out to make a profit.

“It is shocking to even think that the landowning unit approved the piece of land requested for the construction of a church,” he said.

He told landowners to be weary of investors with sinister intentions, adding they needed to scrutinise companies that approached to log their forests.

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