Woodlot forest project destroyed

National, Normal

ABOUT 24,000 trees belonging to the Mapilam Woodlot forest project of Angi village in Wapenamanda, Enga province, were destroyed by fire last Tuesday.
The fire started near the road and spread into the project area, wiping out all the trees.
The cause of the fire was not known.
The trees, mostly gum and pine, were all matured ones.
Project manager Jerry Pindao said it took him more than 11 years to look after and tend the trees.
Mr Pindao said this was a big loss to his people and the province.
He said the project nearly took him all his life to manage and he could not believe what had happened.
Mr Pindao said the project was started in 1998 and the trees were planted and were close to be sold.
He said the trees occupied about 25ha.
Mr Pindao said it would cost about K100,000 to replant the trees and he was not sure where the money would come from because the provincial government did not help to start the project 11 years ago.
The project was owned by Mapilam Landowners Association.
Mr Pindao has called on the provincial and national governments to help with some assistance to revive the project.