BY MATTHEW VARI of Post-Courier
PAPUA New Guinea currently has 30 million hectares of untouched pristine rainforest cover in the country.
This does not include an additional six million hectares currently subjected to human activities.
Minister for Forests, Douglas Tomuriesa announced the figures for the country’s forest inventory at the launch of the country’s National REDD+ Strategy (NRS) 2017-2027.
“I am pleased to inform the gathering today that about 75 per cent or 30 million hectares of our forest are still intact with very little or no human disturbances,” he said.
He said maintenance of natural resources should be recognised by the global community, and the priority of government rests with the wellbeing of the people, who own almost all the forests.
“The international community has time to involve Papua New Guinea and is able to talk with us about elements of REDD+ because of the abundance and quality of our forests.”
“We are thankful that out of these efforts and outcomes of performance-based approaches in the NRS, PNG will qualify for the revenue flows from the international climate change funds.”
“Of the 46 million hectares that constitute the total landmass of PNG, 36 million hectares, or 78 per cent, is under forest cover,” he said.
He said the country is aware of its global responsibility to protect the biodiversity of its natural forests, but other countries take on the approach.
“Our forests are critical to our development from biodiversity as well as from our source of economy perspective.”
“In PNG, forests are essential to our environment, our economy, and our society.”
Annually, the forest sector contributes significantly to the country’s GDP, and government revenues, and is a source for forest resource owners who constitute 85 per cent of the population in the rural areas.
The minister pointed out the main group in the country that needs convincing to maintain forests remains, are the landowners.