Customary owners control 37mil hectares of land


ALMOST 37 million hectares of forests are under customary ownership by clans or individuals, hence forests are important for community livelihoods, an official says.
PNG Forest Authority acting managing director Magdalene Maihua said this during the opening of the first Pacific regional workshop on forest monitoring.
It was hosted in Port Moresby by the authority and the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
Maihua said forests were also an important source of income for the government.
“Forests have significant value for global conservation of tropical forest biodiversity and the mitigation of climate change impacts under the REDD+ process,” she said.
Officials from PNG, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Vanuatu, Tonga, Indonesia and the Pacific Community are attending the workshop.
Maihua said the workshop was timely because the tropical forests of PNG provided a complex natural resource management challenge.
She said the workshop would focus on the use of monitoring software tools Open Foris/Collect Earth and Processing and Analysis for Land monitoring (SEPAL). The tools are developed by the FAO.
She said PNG is the first country in the Pacific to use the Open Foris software tool for monitoring forest and land use changes.
Maihua said the workshop provided an avenue where achievements and challenges of forest monitoring among countries were shared.
One of the expected outcomes is to establish a network of forest monitoring experts in the Pacific region, she said.