The main thrust of the Forest Policy is the management of the nation's forest resource on a sustainable basis to achieve economic growth, employment creation with greater Papua New Guinean participation in the industry and increase viable on-shore processing. The Papua New Guinea Forest Authority (PNGFA) regulates and oversee the implementation of sustainable forest management (SFM) principles. The Forestry Act 1991 (as amended) requires new large timber areas to be acquired from customary landowners by the State under the Forest Management Agreement (FMA) arrangement. The FMAs are for 50 years with the cutting cycle of 35 years. The landowners are given the option to extend for another 20 years after the first twenty years of the 50 years duration, with the view of maintaining the sustainability of a forestry operation. The National Forest Service (NFS) monitor the implementation of the SFM through planning, monitoring and control procedures (PMCP) and logging code of practice (LCoP) in the timber concessions.
To better improve monitoring and SFM practices and reporting in the timber concessions, PNGFA has developed the decision support system and continue to build capacities in GIS and remote sensing technologies including forest research. Further, the generated information from the multipurpose national forest inventory currently undertaken will assist in sound planning and provide a strong basis for managing PNG’s forest resources sustainably.
The issue of illegal logging has taken centre stage in international forest policy dialogue. The seriousness of illegal logging has prompted governments of a number of timber importing countries to enact legislation to prevent illegal timber products entering their shores while at the same time promoting legally verifiable timbers and timbers from a sustainably managed forest. The government in collaboration with Stakeholders has developed the PNG TLS which provides an agreed definition of what constitutes legal timber sourced from PNG and it applies to all timber operations.
Forest certification is also considered by the PNGFA as very important to support SFM. PNG does not have its own certification program, however, as a country, it supports all forest Certification schemes as they give strength to SFM and has the potential of attracting premium prices for timbers exported and is developing a Timber Legality Verification System (TLVS).
A significant strategic policy document to generate greater returns and maximum utilization of the forest resources is the formulation of the National Domestic Processing Strategy which apart from ensuring value-adding, employment creation and technological transfer, will also support sound forest management. The National Domestic Processing Strategy give strength towards the government’s aim of progressively phasing log export.
It is often said that the forest resources we are utilizing are borrowed from the future generation. It has to be replaced by an active reforestation program. To give strategic direction to reforestation and with the aim of ensuring a sustainable forestry sector, the PNGFA has formulated the National Strategy for Reforestation and Afforestation in PNG, to be supported by a National Reforestation Program.
PNGFA strives to manage the country’s forests by working in close collaboration with other development partners, such as the Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA), European Union (EU), United Nations Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Programme (UN-REDD), Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO) and Australian Center for International Agriculture Research (ACIAR).