Solomon Islands logging ‘not sustainable’: Forestry Permanent Secretary

THE forests of the Solomon Islands forests have been logged to an unsustainable levels, according to the Permanent Secretary of Forestry and Research.

Speaking to SIBC News, Vaeno Vigulu said the country’s forests had suffered due to the massive harvests.

“To be honest at the moment we are not sustainable with our harvests,” Mr Vigulu said.

“But it’s what the people want. Across the country, they want to harvest their trees so they harvest them.

“What we try to do is to regulate this industry under the current forest act and our regulations so that we can try to minimise the destruction to our forests which will allow the re-growth of our local species so that we can harvest them back in the next 10 to 15 years.”

Before logging the Chea River, pictured here, had much more flow.
Before logging the Chea River, pictured here, had much more flow.

Last year, the logging industry collected its biggest revenue of all time of more than $SBD500 million dollars.

But it came at a huge price. Reports of huge detrimental environmental impacts, such as soil degradation, reduced river flows and impact on forest animals are well-known and widespread.

In March, the Ministry of Forestry stopped issuing licenses to new logging companies, or  non-members of the Solomon Forest Association.

More than 100 logging companies are operating in the country and 77 of those companies were members of the SFA.

Meanwhile, Mr Vigulu said existing penalties against logging companies were very lenient and they were proposing an increase.

“Some penalties end up like only $100 fine others are a $300 fine,” he said. “These fines are currently being reviewed and will increase.”