Consolidated Responses for the PAFPNet Discussion for the Third quarter of 2016

Date: 20/07/16 - 16/09/16

“The Conservation, Management and Sustainable Utilization of Forest”

For the third quarter of 2016, PAFPNet hosted the discussion topic themed around the Regional Strategy and Action Plan for the conservation, management and sustainable utilization of forest genetic resources in the Pacific. The Action Plan is an important guide for PICTs in developing and implementing relevant policies, strategies and activities within their own national and local settings to contribute to the sustainable management and development of Pacific forest and tree genetic resources for present and future generations.

Four questions were underlined for the discussion on reviewing and exploring way forwards on the Regional Strategy, Action Plan that expired in 2015. There were only 8 responses received. Thank you very much for participating!

The Priorities, Strategies and Action Plan (AP), 2007-2015 for the conservation, management and sustainable use of forest and tree genetic resources represented the collective views of representatives of fourteen Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs), and other national and international participants as expressed at a meeting in Nadi in 2007. As pointed out in the discussion the Action Plan has been extremely useful at an international and regional levels, – contributing Pacific input and as an information document into the FAO’s First State of the World Report on Forest Genetic Resources (FGR) in 2013.  Contributing to the development and priorities of the Centre for Pacific Crops and Trees (CePaCT) and helped to inform the forestry research projects of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), and so on.  

As highlighted in the discussion, the unsustainable practices in the management and use of forests and trees continue to threaten the long term conservation and management of important forest and tree genetic resources. In addition to this is the impact of climate change. While forest cover in most PICTs is relatively high at more than 50%, a major portion of this consist of secondary forests with a lower level of diversity and therefore resilience to adequately cope with climate change and other changes. This ultimately means that these forests cannot and will not provide the full range of products and services that are normally expected from native forests for the well-being of Pacific communities. There is an urgent need to improve this situation by either enriching or reforesting these areas to enhance forest diversity.

The Pacific Islands Tree Seed Centre (PITSC) is an important strategy for the region, as agreed during the discussion, to better facilitate the safe and efficient sharing and exchange of forest and tree genetic resources. The PITSC is an essential knowledge centre and infrastructure which has done some excellent work but which needs greater donor support to fulfil its potential to contribute to the conservation and better use of the region’s truly amazing, economically and environmentally vital forest biodiversity.