Papua New Guinea's Eco-Forestry Forum has raised questions over who will control the downstream processing for which all new allocations of PNG natural forest permits will be issued from next year.
Allocations strictly for downstream processing on new concessions are provided for in the new draft of the National Forest Development Guidelines released to key stakeholders this week.
The Forum's Thomas Paka says the new draft has potential to help forest conservation and should create much-needed jobs for local people.
But he says that questions remain over whether the downstream activities will be environmentally sustainable and who will control the downstream plans:
"Is it the same guys that are exporting logs, is it the same guys that are going to do round log exporting and then also do downstream processing or is it the Papua New Guineans who are going to do the downstream processing to service their timber needs in their country and to exports. Those are the kind of concerns we are raising in terms of how, practically, that will work."