6 Dec 2004

Fears that much of remaining Solomon Islands forests could be gone in a year

8:06 pm on 6 December 2004

A Solomon Islands NGO says the country could lose up to 40 percent of its remaining millable forest within the next year unless the forestry bill becomes law in the current session of Parliament.

The bill, which has the backing of environment groups, is an attempt to slow logging to sustainable levels and give landowners a better return.

It is due to go to Parliament shortly but pro-logging interests have been campaigning for a delay, saying it needs to be re-written.

But John Kellaher of Oxfam in Solomon Islands says a delay will be catastrophic because of reports that the present destructive levels of logging are increasing and that more licences are being issued.

"so we see the forestry bill as something to be supported. We are certainly concerned that there are certain interests that are determined, it would seem, to scupper plans to have the bill passed in this sitting of Parliament, and even over the past weekend significant objections and proposals for amendments have been raised."