Forest and Trees

Forests and trees play significant roles in the lives of Pacific Islanders, economically, socially, culturally and environmentally. In many Pacific island countries, especially on the smaller islands and atolls, agroforestry and tree crops provide most of the food, medicines, construction materials, firewood, tools and myriad of other products and services that cannot be replaced with imported substitutions. For the larger countries, forests have contributed significantly into their economic development in terms of foreign exchange earnings, employment and infrastructure development. Thus, a major challenge for Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs) is to ensure sustainable management of their scarce and diminishing forest and tree resources, taking into account demands for economic development and the social and environmental needs of their growing populations, LRD-SPC is addressing this under its Forest & Tree programme.

SPC encourages conservation and sharing of forest genetic materials within the region
Monday, 19 September 2011 15:12
Deforestation, degradation and loss of valuable forest and tree genetic resources are having negative impacts on the livelihoods and well-being of Pacific Island communities.

This has prompted a collaborative effort by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) to collect and share germplasm of priority wood species.
This activity will be undertaken by the Pacific Islands Tree Seed Centre (PITSC).

The centre was established early this year within SPC’s Land Resources Division (LRD) to act as a focal point to coordinate and implement collection, storage, distribution, research and training relating to germplasm of priority species.

Sairusi Bulai, Forestry Team Coordinator with LRD, acknowledged the presence of representatives of participating countries (Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu) during his opening remarks at a regional meeting that is looking into strengthening capacities in tree seed technologies in Pacific Island countries and territories.

‘PITSC presents us with the opportunity to build capacity within our project countries by providing training that will enable the preservation and conservation of important species that are under threat.

‘PITSC cannot operate on its own, but needs support of all participating countries to move forward,’ Mr Bulai said.

He requested that the countries fast-track the development of a material transfer agreement (MTA) that will facilitate the collection and sharing of important species.

‘The MTA provides the legal framework for collection and sharing of forest genetic resources and the success of PITSC will only be realised with its adoption.’

The goal of the meeting is to develop a strategy and action plan for PITSC.

This strategy will aim to assist Pacific Island countries and territories to gain fair and equitable access to and benefit from sharing priority tree germplasm for sustainable development, rural livelihoods, conservation and climate change.

Bronwyn Clarke, Project Leader with CSIRO’s Australian Tree Seed Centre, said that the meeting would allow the participating countries to contribute to the development of the planned training activities, prioritise species for collection, and research and develop a three-year work plan for PITSC.

‘With effective conservation and utilisation, forest genetic diversity will be an effective tool to assist the region to meet the challenges of food and nutritional security and climate change,’ she said.

The two-day meeting that ends on 20 September is supported by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

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(For further information please contact Vinesh Prasad on telephone (679)3370733 or email LRD Help Desk on email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .)

 

We acknowledge our major donors/partners in supporting Forestry initiatives in the Pacific