By Lemach Lavari
A NEW software has improved the monitoring of PNG forests and land use, according to PNG Forest Authority (PNGFA).
PNGFA’s climate change officer Gewa Gamoga highlighted in a presentation in Port Moresby yesterday that 78 per cent of Papua New Guinea’s rainforests remained untouched.
According to Gamoga, previous measurements did not provide realistic figures about PNG’s land use and forest cover.
As a result, PNG has been rated low against indicators relating to forest conservation in recent years.
Gamoga said current measurements in his presentation were obtained using the forest and land use monitoring tool called Open Foris.
Papua New Guinea is the first country to use this software.
It was created by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and is now part of the National Forest Inventory programme launched in 2016.
The presentation also indicated that most of Papua New Guinea’s forests were destroyed through logging.
Logging accounted for 4.6 per cent of total land use in 2000. By 2015, it rose to 10.7 per cent.
Crop cultivation is another contributing activity to deforestation in PNG. Subsistence farming by the majority of PNG’s population plus oil palm and copra plantations continue to damage PNG’s natural rainforests, the presentation showed.
Gamoga made the presentation at the launching of the first Pacific Regional Workshop on Forest Monitoring.
The workshop hosts were specialists in forest monitoring from PNG, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Vanuatu, Tonga, Indonesia and the Pacific Community. The workshop focuses on sharing achievements and challenges of forest monitoring among the countries and to build capacity in using new monitoring software.
One of the expected outcomes is the establishment of a network of forest monitoring specialists in the Pacific region.
The workshop is at the PNGFA premises.
It begun yesterday and will end on Saturday.
By Lemach Lavari