18 October 2018
Logging roads in Solomon Islands make up twice the length of the Yangtze River in China, according to Global Witness.
A report recently commissioned by the Solomon Islands’ ministry of finance suggested that if logging continues at its current pace, natural forests will be exhausted by 2036.
The Solomons exported more than 3 million cubic metres of logs in 2017; nearly 20 times what experts think is a sustainable annual harvest.
According to an article in the Independent newspaper today (quote)
“The hugely unsustainable rate of logging, the high risks of illegality and the fact that the industry does little to benefit local people all create a bleak picture of islands far from unspoiled or unexploited.”
“Global Witness used satellite imagery and drone photography to determine the rate at which logging is taking place in the Solomon Islands.
“These images revealed vast swathes of deforested land, as well as over 12,000 km (7456 miles) of logging roads criss-crossing the tiny nation.
“One in every 20km of logging road in the Solomon Islands is above 400m in altitude, despite specific efforts by the government to limit deforestation in these zones.
“In their report, Global Witness highlighted China as a particularly worrying player in this situation. The Solomon Islands the second biggest source of tropical logs to China, after Papua New Guinea, the large Asian nation requires no checks to ensure these imports are legal or sustainable.
“As their investigation found these was a high risk that logging companies were not seeking permission from many local landowners or avoiding prohibited places, Global Witness concluded that some of the timber leaving these islands is likely illegally sourced.”
In a separate reported released by Radio New Zealand today (Thursday) the environmental group Global Witness is calling for a moratorium on all logging operations in the Solomon Islands.
“The group released a report detailing extensive illegal logging in the country, with China its biggest export destination for tropical logs.
“The report said logging companies are operating without the permission of local landowners, in prohibited places and without paying taxes owed.
“Global Witness Campaign Leader, Beibei Yin, said both China and the Solomon Islands need to put in place better protections.
"If the logging practice continues at its current speed, its forest, it will be commercially extinct, exhausted by 2036. This is a really alarming figure all of us need to be aware of."
Source: Radio New Zealand Interrnational.