21 Feb 2007

Greenpeace assisting Solomon Islanders in managing own forests

10:36 am on 21 February 2007

Greenpeace says empowering local landowners to manage their own resources is a key to saving Solomon Islands forests from rampant international loggers.

Greenpeace New Zealand's Forest campaigner Grant Rosoman is in Solomon Islands as part of a community forestry programme helping landowners manage their forests.

The programme gives the landowners assistance in cutting and exporting their timber to sustainable levels as an alternative to dealing with illegall loggers.

Mr Rosoman says deforestation is still proceeding at an alarming rate in Solomon Islands and commercial forests are running out.

He says Greenpeace is therefore trying to expand its programme throughout the Solomons.

"To have more local people look after the forests themselves, to mill very carefully a few trees and export them as sawn timbe to Australia and New Zealand and other markets. That way the benefit stays with them, it maximises the value of the timber they're milling and is a good alternative to the foreign-controlled milling that's really ripping the hell out of the forests here."