Preparatory work for the compilation of the code
Scope, content and structure of code
Equipment and safety
Training and supervision
Introduction of logging code
International Labour Office
A national committee composed of representatives of the Forestry Department, the timber industry and an ILO logging training project was involved for four years in the compilation of a national code of logging practice. The code was made binding for all wood harvesting in the Republic of Fiji in 1990. It serves as a basis for environmentally sound, economically viable and safe operations. The code specifies operational details concerning logging planning; construction of roads, ski trails and landings; protection of watercourses; equipment and safety; and training. Its introduction was facilitated by a massive training input provide by Fiji's Logging School including skills testing and certification of machine operators. The code proved to be an indispensable basis for the sustainable management of the country's indigenous and exotic forest resources.
The Fiji Islands have an indigenous tropical forest areas of approximately 200000 ha with an annual timber cut of about 150000 m3 of logs. In addition 50000 ha of grass land have been planted with Caribbean pine, the major part of which industrial plantations, the remainder village wood lots, with a total annual timber cut of presently close to 400000 m3. Another 50000 ha of mahogany plantations is gradually entering the harvesting stage and may yield 100000 m3 of logs by the year 2000.
The ILO was invited to assist the country in the introduction of logging training to ensure that harvesting was carried out efficiently through villages and that a newly established plant for milling and chipping of pine was regularly supplied with logs. With funding from Finland and the European Union logging training started in 198. The ILO project was handed over to the Forestry Department in 1993. During this period it helped to establish training for operators of chainsaws, skidders, bulldozers, loaders and cable cranes, as well as for foremen, managers and supervisors of logging companies and for forestry staff. Until 1993 more than 2000 trainees took part in the training courses which are continued by a team of Fijian instructors.
The project also helped to elaborate and introduce Fiji's National Code of Logging Practice which has become an important basis of sustainable forest management.
The compilation of the code started in 1986 and lasted until 1990. Initially work of the code was focused on safety aspects of logging under consideration of international sources such as the ILO Code of Practice on Safe Design and Use of Chain saws. Subsequently it was widened to include all aspects of wood harvesting. Special attention was given to environmental requirements.
Work on the code was carried out by a national committee which consisted of representatives of the Forestry Department, the logging industry, the Fiji Forestry Training Centre and the ILO Logging Training Project. The Committee went through seven drafts before concluding its work. It considered relevant information from Australia, New Zealand, North America and Europe and matched it against the experience gained in Fiji on Wood harvesting and management of indigenous and exotic forests. Suitable reference material from other tropical countries was, at that time, hardly available.
The code was issued as an official document by the Ministry of Forests in 1990. Its standards and prescriptions are binding. In 1991, an expanded extract of the code a leaflet on use and maintenance of chainsaws was printed for wider dissemination. A Fijian version of the code appeared in 1993, including an English/Fijian logging terminology. All these publications are pocket-size with an attractive graphic design and lay-out.
Figure 1. The illustration from the front page of the section on Equipment and Safety. An attractive graphic design and pocket size helped make the code popular among all those concerned with harvesting.
The code applies to all wood harvesting operations in Fiji. It aims at minimising adverse impacts of logging and at providing a basis for environmentally sound, economically viable and safe operations. As far as the indigenous forests are concerned the code shall safeguard sustainable management under a selective harvesting system. In this respect supportive research is under way through a natural forest management pilot project, assisted by German Technical Cooperation.
The code comprises the following main sections:
· Planning requirements
· Operational requirements
· Environmental requirements
· Equipment and safety
· Training and supervision
Based on pre-operational site inspection a logging plan has to be drawn up for approval by the forest officer controlling the operation. The logging plan includes a contour map of a scale of 1:10000 which shows haulage roads, main skid tracks, landings, streams and steam crossings, buffer strips and protected sites.
In addition to the provisions of the code the Forest Department has drawn up a standard format of a logging inspection report to check compliance with the logging plan during or after termination of the operation.
In order to overcome difficulties in providing suitable contour maps cartographic assistance has been made available through Australian aid.
Detailed information is given on size, grade, drainage and maintenance of haulage roads, skid tracks and landings.
General rules are provided on felling and skidding. As a rule directional felling is to be applied.
While most of the operational requirements proved to be applicable under Fijian conditions, some revisions appeared to be necessary, e.g. on grades for skid tracks which should be more stringent. The code presently allows 25° (46%) under exceptional conditions.
This section deals with designated streams, location of minor skid tracks, seasonal restrictions of logging, fire precautions and disposal of pollutant and waste.
Because of the high level of rainfall, attaining more than 5000 mm in the wetter parts of the island, and because of the prevailing steep mountains erosion control is of crucial importance in Fiji. It is particularly significant, that water courses remain as much as possible undisturbed by buffer strips and carefully locating and building stream crossings and bridges.
Minor skid tracks have to be marked with a view to minimise machine cost as well as stand and site damage.
This section deals with the use of chain-saws, skidders, loaders and bulldozers. It does not yet cover cable cranes which were introduced at a later time and require additional consideration.
It incorporates detailed regulations on accident prevention by specifying the necessary safety features with which the machines must comply, protective clothing and personal protective equipment to be used by the operator, adequate organisation of jobs and safe handling of equipment.
Such regulations, which are still absent in many developing countries, are an essential standard for the training of logging workers.
The code requires that all operators of powered equipment have been adequately trained and must have successfully passed a test of competence. After passing the best they receive a certificate of competence.
Also listed in this section are the qualifications and main duties of a logging supervisor.
As a response to the requirement for training and testing, the logging training team developed and validated skills tests for operators of chainsaws, skidders, loaders and bulldozers.
Immediately after issuing the code the Forestry Department launched a campaign for the information of the logging industry and its own staff. The principal target group were timber production officers who required training in logging planning and inspection according to the requirements of the code. Another key group were supervisors and managers of logging companies. A video on the National Code of Logging Practice turned out to be an excellent introduction into such courses and was also successfully used for the information of the general public. A sticker of the code's logo was widely disseminated and could be found in the remotest villages.
Most of this training was provided through the logging school which undertook also a major effort to carry out the certification of operators of powered equipment. Skills testing was done for all workers who had been trained previously. Newly recruited workers were tested and issued with certificates of competence at the conclusion of training courses.
Figure 2. The logo of the logging code, showing exotic and indigenous trees, chainsaw and skidder, was widely disseminated in the Fiji Islands.
Under conditions prevailing in a country like Fiji, resembling many other tropical developing countries, the availability and application of a logging code is an indispensable condition for sustainable forest management. Such a code must go beyond general guidelines and must provide clearly defined requirements against which harvesting operations cab be checked. The fact that the standard set by the code were made binding by the Government contributed greatly to its implementation. However, its application can only be attained by a comprehensive and ongoing training input directed to workers, supervisors, managers and forestry staff concerned with wood harvesting. The logging training facilities created in Fiji are meeting these demands.
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