Forests and the forestry sector
Almost 96 percent of the land area of the Cook Islands is classified as forest. Vegetative cover is both lush and extensive on the Southern Group of islands, although anecdotal observation suggests a shortage of accessible, millable timber. The Northern Group¿s tree resources are mainly limited to coconut palms, although some forest species are also present. Most forests in Cook Islands are in the interior of the main islands and are protected, managed for the conservation of biodiversity and for watershed functions. The South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), for example, has been working with the Cook Islands Environment and Conservation Department in protecting some of the local forest areas identified as important bird and wildlife sanctuaries.
The Cook Islands harvests a small amount of timber each year for industrial purposes. Minor quantities of logs are exported. The country also has a few small sawmills producing sawn timber for the domestic market. Most of the demand for wood and paper is met by imports.
Last updated: March 2003