BY PAUL OATES
A RECENT MEDIA article claimed that an independent review by the Australian National University into a report by the PNG Forest Industries Association on the REDD scheme has come up trumps for the loggers.
REDD stands for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries. It’s a United Nations program.
In a blow to environmentalists, and to those who want to see PNG preserve its rainforest cover, the review apparently supports the further reduction of PNG forests.
Emeritus Professor Ron Duncan and Associate Professor Tim Curtin reportedly said that to preserve the health and wellbeing of a growing population, the forests must go to provide agricultural land. Further land must also be made available for commercial crops such as coffee, cocoa and oil palm.
The professors targeted the 2.5% annual increase in PNG's population as a major driver justifying the further destruction of timber resources. They also said that if the REDD scheme eventuates, it could create a ‘handout mentality’ whereby forest owners just sit and expect to receive money for their trees.
I'm surprised that the ANU should lend its name to such a report. The continual destruction of forests has in no way assisted the PNG people over the years.
Similarly, to suggest that oil palm plantations will help land owners has been proven to be false when those who accepted money for their land became economic refugees to the very industry they sold to.
Unable to farm the land they had owned, they had to work for the plantations and spend their small salaries plantation run trade stores.
On a positive note however, the PNG Forest Industries will no doubt be very appreciative of the ANU review however. I wonder who funded who to do what?