The emerging trends in forestry and environmental protection clearly indicate that the global demand for forest products far exceeds the resources currently audited on earth. In a recent report less than 5% of all timber products are derived from forestry plantation, therefore much of the 1.6 billion cubic meters of timber consumed every year originates in previously untouched natural forests.
Therefore the challenge is to develop more forest plantation that have shorter rotation periods and higher yields whereby the pressure for timber is removed from the last pure forests of the world. Prior to the 1960’s the vast majority of forestry investments were undertaken by governments.
Yet, the private investment sector began to realise the financial returns that timberland is able to achieve and this created a rush into the asset class that, in some areas and regions, formed financial bubbles.
Today the majority of Timberland investments are developed by private investment firms and individual investors. As a result the drivers for these investments are primarily financial which are significantly increased by shorter rotation periods and greater quality of timber. One sector of research that is having dramatic impacts on the forestry sector is the science of Biotechnology Tissue Culture. Within the Pacific region there is a long history of forest exploitation that has had a dramatically negative impact upon the people of the region. Much of the valuable tropical timber stocks, such as Kwila, Sandalwood, Yaka and Ebony have been reduced today to a small fraction of what they were only a decade ago.
This unsustainable logging and forestry management of the past century has left the pacific vulnerable to climate change and environmental degradation. In Fiji and the other Pacific island nations there is a desire to repair and redress this history.The development of a world class Forestry Biotechnology centre in Fiji will become a major service provider of improved genetic material for the replanting of the forests not only in Fiji but throughout the Pacific region.
In partnership with the Forestry Department of Fiji and other private partners this facility will produce both indigenous and highly prized introduced timber species. The benefits are obvious ranging from reduction of environmental degradation, poverty alleviation and eco tourism.It is planned that the facility will possess all the components that a truly environmentally friendly and low impact development should have. Utilizing recycled materials and renewable energy sources the proponents of this facility intend for it to be a leader in Forestry and environmental standards.
SFS has marketing affiliations internationally and joint ventures with various operators that purchase log, lumber and processed lumber products. In particular, Sustainable Forest Industries Ltd (SFI) appointed to market and process mahogany at the initial harvest in 2002 and Wood Products International as its distribution and JV partner have been leaders in these areas. The SFS founders will now partner with SFI, expanding on its role in the Forest sector in Fiji. The SFI team can now rely on SFS to promote and ground truth the replanting of the resource and the products created from its growth and use.