Vanuatu forest staff to undertake Santo inventory
Training conducted by the German agency for International Cooperation to prepapre for a forest inventory on Santo, Vanuatu's biggest island.
A forest inventory is to be conducted on Vanuatu's largest island, Santo.
Ten staff at the forestry department are this week receiving training to carry out the inventory.
The trainer is Bjoern Hecht from Germany's agency for International Cooperation; he is also a Pacific regional advisor on the UN's Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation programme.
Mr Hecht spoke with our correspondent Hilaire Bule who began by asking him if Vanuatu has managed its forests well since the last inventory in Santo was conducted, in 1991.
BJOERN HECHT: There was no complete management system applied, which has different reasons. There is, for example, a Forestry Act. But it is very hard for Forestry to enforce this Act. The other thing is, the people own the land and they use the forest in the way they want it and need it. So when you know how much forest you have, you can help the people in using their forests in their area in a sustainable way as well. You can say, in your area you have these species growing really well and you can try to focus on marketing these species; you can say, this is as much as you can cut in 10 years and then after that you will still have enough for your next generation to sell these things; and many other interests that rely on the forests, they can also be managed... as long as you just know what you have.
HILAIRE BULE: You have over 10 participants with you this week, what will be the main mission after the meeting?
BH: After the meeting, it's the inventory itself so this is the training and we've got foresters from different islands. But most of them are from Santo and from the headquarters. We train them in the basics, including database management and things like this, the measurements themselves, the methodology. And we take ten people in two teams to Santo for the inventory of the island. So we train now and we implement over the next six/seven weeks.
HB: What is the current situation in terms of the carbon credit system, did Vanuatu already benefit from that fund?
BH: I'd say yes but that's a bit abstract. So, the REDD+ programme is a preparation programme at the moment. I think Vanuatu will take about three or four more years to get into a position where they can start benefitting from carbon funding. This is only if the efforts are being made and they succeed in implementing these things. But, for example, this forest inventory is the result directly out of these international climate change negotiations because it's funded through the German environment ministry and this money is climate change money - the forest inventory wouldn't happen if we didn't have the funding for preparing for REDD+. So we have a methodology for measuring the forest resources, for climate change, and that's how we use the funding. The funding will already benefit Vanuatu by improving the forest management. If the credits come later on or not, doesn't even matter as long as you implement the current preparation funding really well.
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