Restoring forestry and fisheries after cyclone Pam

vila-making-do-in-blacksand-4_2000-650x450Tanna was one of the hardest hit islands in Vanuatu when cyclone Pam devastated Vanuatu in March 2015. The damage wrought by Pam left many people with no proper shelter, destroyed food gardens and caused the loss of many livelihoods. The forestry and fishery sectors—both critical for employment and food security on the island—were also affected. Canoes and boats, engines and fishing gear were ravaged, and coastal marine habitats were also severely damaged. But there appears to be proper support in the pipeline in the form of long-term approaches, aimed at recovering and building more resilient forestry and fishery sectors. This article proposes some recommendations that could revive these two sectors. A series of assessments by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) indicate that natural forests and small-scale plantings in agro-forestry systems were all affected. Based on the Vanuatu Resource Information System (VANRIS), the total commercial volume of timber that was damaged is estimated at some 50,000 cubic meters. These commercial volumes are from high value indigenous tropical hardwood tree species. We need to support communities with a total of 10 medium-scale saw mills that will operate to extract timber from the logs which will be used to rebuild homes, with the excess to be supplied to the local markets to create employment and income-generation activities for the local population. DARD has offered to provide trainings to assist in facilitating markets for timber. Read more.

SOURCE: Pacific Institute of Public Policy.