Increasing timber production has been stated in the development plans as a priority factor to promote and sustain the limited forestry. Demand for timber (mainly for firewood, boat building and house construction) outstrips supply mostly due to population pressures and improper management. Timber is also recognized as a valuable natural resource in the Maldives and the preservation and regeneration of stocks is an important element of the government policy. In this context, ministry of fisheries and Agriculture (MOFA), the Government body regulating forestry rules, has restricted the issuing of timber cutting permits to protect the existing vegetation. Only one or two varieties are allowed to be cut as firewood Regulations also require that each tree cut down for any purpose must be replaced by two newly planted trees.
Uninhabited islands make up the major part of the land area of the Maldives and the Government felt the need of upgrading the existing land tenure system of these islands. The current system of land tenure does not guarantee a fixed tenure for and island lessee and it act as a major disincentive to development and protection of agroforestry. Therefore revisions to existing land tenure systems have been made for selected islands. Longer term period of leasing with lease based on the resource inventory of the island has been recently adopted.
With the assistance from the Food and Agriculture Organization a project was started to stimulate domestic timber production through the establishment of four regional forestry nurseries. The target of this project is to plant 10,000 plants in each of the four major nurseries which will be later planted in the region.
MOFA also have launched a two million tree planting program partly to support timber production and to minimize environment impact from tree degradation as well as to improve the nutritional status of the community Mainly timber, shade and fruit trees are been planted all over the country.