9 Sep 2009

Solomon Islands considers how to save some of its few remaining forests

1:20 pm on 9 September 2009

An environmental organisation in Solomon Islands says its working with the country's government to see how forest areas could be set aside for protection.

The move comes as the nation's biodiversity action plan has identified logging as one of the major threats to biodiversity in what the WWF says is one of the 200 most important ecoregions in the world.

WWF country programme manager Tristan Armstrong says Solomon Islands has the lowest level of legally-protected land in the Pacific at 2.8 percent.

He says the government realises more lands need to be protected, but new models will have to be developed to do this in Solomon Islands

"Within the context of customary land ownership, a protected area in the sense of a national park as there might be in New Zealand or Australia doesn't always work in an environment where all land is owned by tribes and where basically resources are managed in a very different way."

Tristan Armstrong says the focus of WWF has been on working with communities to help them find alternatives to logging, as previous governments haven't had the resources and capacity to tackle the problem.

He says most commercial forests have already been logged in Solomon Islands, but there is much that is still worth protecting.