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Forest Function Map Available To Landowners Only: Lal

Forest Function Map Available To Landowners Only: Lal
From left: Conservator of Forest Sanjana Lal, Ministry for Forest Acting Permanent Secretary Bernadette Welch, Deputy Conservator Simione Draunibaka during submissions at Parliament on January 18, 2018. Photo: Vilimoni Vaganalau.
January 19
12:02 2018

The Forest Function Map facilitated by the Ministry of Forests is only available at district and mataqali level and solely for landowners.

This was discussed at the facilitation on the formalisation of land use plan towards strategic planning to the Public Accounts Committee in Suva yesterday.

Conservator of Forests Sanjana Lal said the map  was only available up to district level and data was provided up to the mataqali level.

Ms Lal said the data was confidential and only available to resource owners.

“We are not obliged to report that to anyone else, so a contractor cannot ask us how much forest does a certain mataqali have,” she said.

“Reason why? We are not trying to publicise the forest function level because it is a confidential document and we would be breaching agreements with landowners if we do that.”

Acting Permanent Secretary for Forests, Bernadette Welch said the Ministry of Forests role in relation to the land use plan was to provide the Forest Function Maps.

“The maps have now been completed and just need to be printed and provided to the Ministry of Economy to make our contribution towards the Land Use Planning exercise,” Ms Welch said.

“The production of the Forest Function Map took a long period of time to produce and in going through the report it highlighted what some of the challenges were.

“We are talking as a ministry on how to use a better strategy in future to make sure collaboration across the civil service is more effective. That way we can get important things like this completed in a more timely way.”

Member of Parliament Aseri Radrodro said the Land Use Plan and Forest Function Map could have been drawn up early.

Mr Radrodro questioned its delay stating that this was prepared in 2007, audited in 2014 and it was still not ready.

Ms Welch said the production of the Land Use Plan was being co-ordinated by the Strategic Plan Unit in the Ministry of Economy so they would be the best to comment on the readiness of the plan.

She said the Ministry of Forests contribution to the plan were the Forest Function Maps.

The Conservator of Forests, Ms Lal, added that the maps took a long time to produce because there were issues with the consultants and contractors engaged.

“And then there were issues in getting the data sorted so the maps could be completed and that was the problem,” Ms Lal said.

“The maps include both native and natural forests including pine and mahogany and any other small plantations.”

The Land Use Plan is for the whole of Fiji and the Ministry of Forests contribution is on which area is to be demarcated as forest and remain permanent forest areas.

Welch is Acting Permanent


Bernadette Welch, the Permanent Secretary for Civil Service appeared in her capacity as the Acting Permanent Secretary for Forests said: “I thank the committee for bringing the report to the ministry’s attention and I consider this as an opportunity as the new acting PS to see where the ministry needs to do some extra work,” Ms Welch said.

Edited by Percy Kean


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