State of Forestry Industries
Over the past decades, the main activity was the extraction of Timber and products for round log export of commercial species. Logging activities started in the 1930s’ on crown land and continued to intensified until 1980s’ when all crown land have been completely exhausted. In the late 1980s’ the Logging Industry started to enter into the Customary Land with arrangement and contract made directly with Resource owners. This was when heavy extraction and exploitation occurred well above the sustainable allowable cut. In 2005 Round Log export increases dramatically to reach 1 million cubic meters which is 4 times the sustainable rate of harvesting. This rate of extraction causes rapid depletion of the Natural Commercial stand. A National Inventory was carried in 2006, to assess the remaining commercial stand and a wood flow projection was produced. The scenario produced, predicted a rapid depletion of the commercial forest stand volume and by 2010 and complete depletion by 2015. This is the present scenario of the Timber industry of Solomon Islands.
Timber milling was undertaken since logging operation started in the 1930s’ when international companies operated in the Solomon Islands. These were established permanent sawmills that produce sawn timber mainly for local needs. It was continued in successive decades however, on a reduced scale with few companies in Guadalcanal and Western Provinces mainly to supply the local market. In the 1980s’, local resource owners started to do small scale milling with chainsaw mainly for own building needs and local sales. The introduction of Portable mills in 2000 increased Timber Milling activities mainly done by Resources Owners themselves and supply the local timbers exporters in the country. Also the increase development activities require an increased demand for construction and building needs. Most of the Milling activities concentrated on indigenous hardwood species of high strength and durability. The current demand for local hardwood species is very high and will increase in the future, however, rapid timber extraction through logging depletes the natural commercial species and would have devastating effect on the sawn timber supply to meet our local needs.