I recently read an article form our brokerage company advising that logging practices in the Solomon Islands was not sustainable. So I immediately asked our contact for this wood to comment. Here is what was said:
“The Solomon Islands are a developing country and, as such, suffer from the misfortune of corruption and not having systems in place for conservation to the extent that we have here. It is true that there is illegal logging that occurs on some islands in the country. In particular, there is a great deal of bribery that occurs from the Asian logging companies that use naive landowner’s rights and privileges to log large areas. However, the government is making strides in enforcing conservation. For example, commercial logging can only occur on lands that are below 400 meters above sea level where the forest is accessible to logging. Some islands are low lying, and that is where this illegal activity is centered. There is also a maximum cut rate, and exports are monitored closely and include permitting, right of logging documentation and for species like the Tubi, extraordinary permission to log.
The majority of log resource land (80%) in the Solomon’s is owned by tribes in a community-like manner. Unfortunately, it does happen that a full tribe is convinced to log their area because the amount that the logging companies offer the tribes is more than they could earn in many years, even though in actual fact what the tribes are given is just a fraction of what the logs are really worth.
The article suggesting that logging resources will be depleted in the current year is, in my opinion, an exaggeration. There was a survey done over 5 years ago that came out with this prediction. Since that time, there have been other preventative measures put in place, to accompany the education that organizations like Greenpeace provided to rural landowners. Other measures like the establishment of a CITES office, and tightening of logging and exporting rules since the end of the civil tension which brought a strong Australian/New Zealand influence on government services.
In our practice, we do not participate in these methods of logging, but purchase from related parties in the Solomon’s at fair prices. We know exactly where the log comes from and how it is logged. The Narra from my last trip came specifically from the land belonging to my tribe.
A major part of my trips involves hours of education – teaching and explaining to landowners about conservation, and the long term risks of mass logging. I talk to them about getting the best value from their wood by selecting and cutting to maximize the grade of their wood and about replanting to ensure future generations have the same opportunities.”
You can check out pictures of logging on the Solomon Islands in Volume 37 – November 2011.
OR see our post about in HERE.