Papua New Guinea is endowed with vast natural forest resources. These resources are being developed by the Government to enhance the economic and social advancement of the country. This development is being pursued within the broad objective of sustainable forest management.
In the forest sector, the Papua New Guinea Forest Authority (Forest Authority) intends to achieve sustainable forest management1 by developing the sector along the lines set-out in the Provincial and National Forest Plan as outlined in the country's "1997 - 2002 Medium Term Development Strategy".
Within the broad objective of sustainable forest management, the Government will, through the Forest Authority, manage the forest resources of the country on behalf of the people for a broad range of commercial and non-commercial benefits for present and future generations. This will involve implementing the following policies and programmes:
· to undertake regular forest resource inventories and produce a national forest type classification;
· to acquire and maintain management rights for the country's commercial forest resources, utilizing Forest Management Agreements wherever possible, to ensure the sustainability of the resource;
· to effectively control and monitor harvesting and export operations to ensure compliance with the Forestry Act, 1991 (as amended) and associated Government policies and guidelines;
· to promote resource owner participation in the management and utilization of forest resource;
· to provide advice to Government and potential investors on timber species and utilization options;
· to undertake research programmes and data collection activities which are aimed at developing the knowledge base for sustainable forest management and reforestation;
· to promote the introduction and management of a forest revenue system that provides for fair returns to landowners, industry and government, and provide for adequate funding for the efficient operation of the Forest Authority;
· to promote and facilitate sound natural forest management and plantation development and, through this, to promote rural employment opportunities;
· to promote, through public awareness, an understanding of the multiple uses and values of trees and forest resources for income generation and livelihood;
· to enhance organizational development through the optimum use of human resources of the Forest Authority;
· to promote an effective marketing strategy in order to obtain maximum returns from the exports of timber and timber products;
· to promote increased industrial wood processing to create employment opportunities;
· to plan for adequate wood supplies to underpin a viable domestic processing industry to supply local and international markets;
· to promote uses of other forest products alongside the development of timber; and
· in collaboration with the Department of Environment and Conservation and other agencies, to identify priority areas that have significant environmental and ecological values which need to be protected.
1 Sustainable forest management is defined by the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) as -"the process of managing permanent forest land to achieve one or more clearly specified objectives of management with regard to the production of a continuous flow of desired forest products and services without undue reduction of its inherent values and future productivity and without undue undesirable effects on the physical and social environment."