25 Oct 2003

Tonga's forestry ministry seeks to save the country's forests

9:33 am on 25 October 2003

Tonga's Ministry of Forestry is on a drive to protect native trees and the nation's remaining forests.

The director of Forestry, Taniela Hoponoa, says only 5.6 per cent of Tonga is under forests and these acreages are confined to uninhabited islands.

Mr Hoponoa says this is very low compared to other Pacific nations, which have a forest coverage ranging from 35 to 90 per cent.

He says only one per cent of Tongatapu is under forest so replanting is a key concern.

The department is encouraging landowners to save and replant native trees and plants.