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16. Federated States of Micronesia

Country data

Total land area (ha)


Total natural forest area 1990 (ha)/% of total land


Reported plantation area 1990 (ha)


Population 1994


GNP (per capita) 1992 US$


*) Source of data: Government statistics

General information

Agriculture in the Federated States of Micronesia is of the subsistence type with some semi-commercial activity. An agrofores-try system is commonly applied throughout the country with fruit trees, particularly coconut, breadfruit, mango, banana, and papaya, planted alternatively with vegetable and root crops. Pigs are the most important animals raised by households for food, ceremonies, and sale. Tourism revenue is small, but contributes significantly to the economy.

Forestry is a State responsibility. State forestry activities are carried out by the Agriculture Division of the Department of Conservation and Development, except in the State of Pohnpei. At the national level, forestry is handled by the Agriculture Division of the Department of Resources and Development. After a recent reorganisation under a new administration, forestry is now merging with agriculture to form an office of Agriculture and Forestry under a new Division of Resource Management. Forestry has been able to retain all of its programmes, but in general is under-budgeted.

The States and municipalities claim the legal authority to regulate mangrove exploitation. An assessment of the mangrove resources of the island of Pohnpei has been undertaken to determine priority areas for preservation and sustained management. A mangrove management plan has also been prepared. Domestic demand for timber and wood products is met through imports. Sawn timber accounts for 50% of all timber imported.

The first aerial photographs taken in 1976 showed that 42% of Pohnpei’s land was covered by undisturbed forestland. However, by November 1995, this area had been reduced to 15%, according to the aerial photography carried out at that time.

Policy and planning

A National Environmental Management Strategy was prepared under the guidance of the Presidential Task Force on Environmental Management and Sustainable Development in 1991. The National Management Strategy and Tourism Plan was completed recently. A watershed management steering committee was created. The members include interested Government institutions and representatives of the traditional chiefs.

In 1994, the Government decided to launch a Forest Policy and Strategic Planning process following the Basic Principles and Operational Guidelines of the National Forestry Action Programme. No action has been taken as yet. When the process begins, the utilisation of existing institutions should be explored, for example the watershed management steering committee. The exercise should also take into consideration the existence of the National Environmental Management Strategy and Tourism Plan. Its linkage with these exercises should be examined. The involvement of local communities right from the beginning is vital. The planning process will be useful since long-term forestry development plans have not been made. The exercise could be a useful tool to develop a national dialogue on forestry and forestry-related issues among partners involved in forestry sector development.

In 1996, the forestry staff participated in the following training/workshops:

· Wetland fire suppression;

· Fundamentals of research, and research thinking;

· Atoll agriculture; and

· Environmental Impact Assessment in mangrove forests.

A proposal to repeal the Pohnpei Watershed Forest Reserve and Mangrove Protection Act of 1987 (S.L. No. 1L-128-87) was under process, and would be introduced to the Pohnpei Legislature in September 1996. The main purpose for repealing the current law is to ensure that its administration is consistent with community-based management and decision making.

The Pohnpei’s Watershed Management Strategy as the basis for watershed management was developed with assistance from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and completed in February 1996. It was reviewed by the Government and the traditional leaders in March.

A Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) process has been carried out in 22 communities in two municipalities. The communities are developing community action plans (CAPs) for the management of their conservation areas, including watersheds, mangroves, and marine conservation systems. Part of the process is the identification and designation of community conservation officers who will be carrying out conservation responsibilities in accordance with the CAP in each community.

Focal point
Herson Anson
Chief of Forestry
Department of Conservation and Resources Surveillance
Federated States of Micronesia 96941
Fax (691) 320 5997


When you go digging for an ounce of gold,
you have to move tons of dirt to get an ounce of gold.
But when you go digging, you don’t go looking for the dirt,
you go looking for the gold.
(Shiv Khera - You can win)

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