13 Jul 2004

International help called for to end the destruction of PNG's remaining forests

8:25 pm on 13 July 2004

A Papua New Guinea environmental group is asking international NGOs to put pressure on the government following a report which reveals the country is losing 120 thousand hectares of forest a year.

The Eco-Foresty Forum, quoting figures from a National Forest Authority report, says the logging industry is destroying the country's forests at an alarming rate.

The chairman of the Forum, Ken Mondiai says the report reveals that eight of twelve provinces with forest resources are almost totally depleted.

He says the Forum needs overseas help to lobby the PNG government over the issue.

"We need the support of the international community and international NGOs to put pressure on the PNG government to ensure that they comply with the rules and laws that they have set up for logging as well as other developmental issues in PNG."

Mr Mondiai says the Constitution, the Forest Act and forest policies all demand the sustainable use of forest resources - a requirement being ignored by most logging companies.

He says the government needs to begin a massive reafforestation programme, otherwise the country could end up a major importer of wood products.