← Go back to Press Releases
Blog Image

Plant a Tree, Save Fiji

Following the REDD+ (Reducing Emission from Deforestation, Forest Degradation and Forest Conservation, Sustainable Management of Forests and Carbon Stock Enhancement) readiness phase which began in Fiji in 2009 is the implementation phase of the Fiji Forestry Emission Reductions (ER) Program in which Fiji signed an agreement on January 28, 2021 with the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), a global partnership of the World Bank, of US$12.5 million (approx. FJ$26 million) in results-based payments for increasing carbon sequestration and reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. Fiji is the first small island developing state to sign an Emission Reductions Payment Agreement (ERPA) with the World Bank’s FCPF. The five-year agreement will reward efforts of those who choose to participate in reducing carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.  
o assist with greater public understanding of Fiji’s Forestry ER Program, the Ministry of Forestry has been publishing a series of articles detailing the different activities within the programme. Today we will look at Afforestation and Reafforestation or the planting of trees in degraded and deforested areas, which contributes to carbon stock enhancement.

Supporting afforestation and reforestation 
With the world facing multiple crises, including COVID-19, conflicts, climate crisis and biodiversity loss, forests can help us recover from their impact if urgent actions are taken. The State of the World’s Forests Report 2022, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) launched in May sets out three pathways to address this urgency - halting deforestation; restoring degraded land and expanding agroforestry and sustainably using forests and building green value chains.
“The balanced, simultaneous pursuit of these pathways can help address the crises facing people and the planet while also generating sustainable economic benefits, especially in (often remote) rural communities,” FAO Director-General QU Dongyu writes in the foreword to the report, subtitled “Forest Pathways for Green Recovery and Building Inclusive, Resilient and Sustainable Economies” and launched at the XV World Forestry Congress in Seoul.
The pathways are put forward “on the understanding that solutions to interrelated planetary crises have immense economic, social and environmental implications that need to be addressed holistically,” Qu adds.
 impact of the afforestation / reforestation activities of the Fiji Forestry ER Program will be significant given the large expanse of degraded grasslands and poorly stocked plantations in Fiji. 
Aside from the benefits generated from the emissions reduction programme, these activities will contribute towards a more robust forest production sector where future timber demand can be met through a sustainable supply from planted and managed forest areas rather than from indigenous forests. This creates an enabling environment for Fiji to invest in projects with low carbon impact
and high social and environmental benefits. The Government has programmes supporting the development of value chains, diversification of markets for forest products, and the utilisation of forest by-products. 
All these programmes can be intensified with increased supply from plantations and forest areas, including a progression to certified goods coming from sustainably managed forest plantations. Such investments will reduce not only the logging pressure placed on Fiji’s valuable indigenous and biodiversity-rich forests but will also provide alternative sources of livelihoods for landowners who are increasingly driven to clear forests for semi-subsistence farming as their main source of livelihood.  
Improved economic opportunities is assumed to take the pressure off unplanned utilisation of forest resources and ensure the avoidance of emission displacement by local communities as per the Cancun Safeguard Principle (g) - Actions to reduce displacement of emissions.

National commitments 
The Fijian Government’s National Development Plan (NDP) 2017-2036 presents a vision to transform Fiji to realise its full potential.  The NDP recognises the need for inclusive socio-economic development based on multisectoral collaboration to find solutions to climate change, environment protection and green growth. The design of Fiji’s Forestry ER Program activities embraces the above vision for the forest sector, which translates to the goal of pursuing sustainable development and management of Fiji’s forest to realise the full potential of the forest sector through reduction in deforestation and forest degradation, promoting sustainable forest management, conservation, and afforestation and reforestation to contribute to climate mitigation while meeting the demands of timber and non-timber forest products; maintenance of ecosystem services and an increase in the resilience of local communities to the impacts of climate change. Within the Fiji Forestry ER Program, activities identified to have a high carbon emission reduction potential include afforestation / reforestation (mainly on unutilised and degraded grasslands), enrichment planting of poorly stocked and/or degraded commercial plantations, implementation of the Fiji Forest Harvest Code of Practice (FFHCOP) with reduced impact logging (RIL) in active logging sites, agroforestry and alternative livelihoods and protection of indigenous forests under present or potential threat from logging and infrastructure development.
It is anticipated that through integrated land use plans at district level, is to promote integrated, collaborative and an iterative consultative approach to planning and decision-making on the suitable use of forest and land resources. In addition, it is to allow communities to express their concerns issues and priorities, which are expected to resonate in the agreed and developed land use plans.
Permanent Secretary for Forestry Pene Baleinabuli said that the government's large scale national reforestation and afforestation programmes were basically to re-divert the country’s timber needs to a plantation source and allow for more native forests to be protected and the promotion of its ecosystem benefits and services. 
“In essence, the programme had already started to address the issues of siltation of the rivers and waterways, protection from landslips, the protection of soil fertility to support the agricultural sector, and also address the impact due to changes in climatic conditions,” he said. 
Through Fiji’s Forestry ER Program, there will be a restoration of degraded lands through afforestation and reforestation and to promote Fiji Pine Limited managed plantations in 2500hectare (ha) per year for five years and Fiji Hardwood Corporation Limited managed plantations in 478ha above Business As Usual (BAU) for three years. 
Pine plantations are predominant on the western and drier side of Viti Levu, mainly on grasslands within the provinces of Ba, Nadroga/Navosa and Ra and near Tropik Wood at Industries Limited sawmill and processing centre, which is located approximately 15 kilometres out of Lautoka city. Tropik Wood Industries is a subsidiary of Fiji Pine Ltd.  
On Vanua Levu, the pine plantations are more predominant in the Bua and Macuata provinces, where the terrain is moderate, and the climate conditions are drier. The first plantations were established at around the same time when planting began on Viti Levu, and are now being processed at the processing centre in Bua, which was built in 2008.  
Community-based pine woodlots, which are under the stewardship of the Fiji Pine Trust (FPT), occur mainly in the central division (even larger areas are planted on the maritime islands) and were established mostly through the Ministry of Forestry’s extension programme in the 1960s. Woodlots that are above 100 ha in area size are registered as potential log suppliers and are provided technical assistance under the scheme administered by FPT. Many of these woodlots are planted as community projects on barren and idle land.  Over the years community woodlots have matured and provide an alternative income source for the local communities.
The mahogany plantations (Swietenia macrophylla) were also part of Government’s programme. Large scale planting of mahogany began after the pine programme was hived off and corporatised in the mid-1990.  Logged native forests are reforested with mahogany with the aim of establishing an alternative source of timber. In 2000, the mahogany plantations were also corporatised and are now managed by the Fiji Hardwood Corp. Limited.  
The mahogany plantations are largely in the central division in wetter conditions and in the provinces of Serua and Tailevu. Similarly, on Vanua Levu the plantations thrive in the interior of Cakaudrove and Bua. Processing of the mahogany resource began after corporatisation and is one of the most sought-after log supplies.   
At the same time, community-based afforestation and reforestation activities will be supporting the Fijian Government’s 30MillionTreesin15Years (#30MT15Y) initiative where carbon enhancement planting is expected to cover an estimated 5,750ha by the end of 2024. 
Activities promoting agroforestry and alternative livelihoods to reduce pressure on forest resources is also being promoted. Agroforestry will focus on the restoration of riparian zones estimated at 5,000ha over five years and shade-grown agriculture proposed for implementation in 5000ha over five years. A total area of 36,400 is proposed to be set aside as protected area by 2024. Through these efforts, Fiji’s Forestry ER Program is expected to reduce 9,500ha of deforestation over five years of implementation.
The activities within Fiji’s Forestry ER Program are geared towards reducing deforestation and forest degradation, improving emission removals, increasing ecosystem services and building climate resilient communities. 
Individuals and organisations, including landowning units, farmers, women, youth, children, private sector, civil society, religious groups, academia and anyone interested in forest conservation, environmental protection and addressing climate change are encouraged to actively participate in Fiji’s Forestry ER Program. 

For more information contact any nearest Forestry Office and/or Provincial Council Office within your vicinity or visit the Ministry of Forestry and the REDD+ Unit’s social media pages.





← Go back to Press Releases