Forty-eight year-old Ashraf Khan was on cloud nine after signing his contract in the presence of the Ministry of Forestry Permanent Secretary Mr. Pene Baleinabuli last Friday.
Mr. Khan who manages his company, Khan’s Hire Plant Services in Nausori with his two sons, will be responsible for harvesting and carting native timber species from the Ministry of Forestry’s Natural Forest Management Pilot Project (NFMPP) site at Nakavu to the Nasinu Timber Utilization Division.
After being in the business for 14 years, Mr. Khan said his line of business is good but at times the weather has an impact on the overall operation.
“Today, I count myself very lucky to have secured a contract with Government through the Ministry of Forestry, and I intend to do my best,” Mr. Khan said.
“This contract for me means that apart from making money through logging, I should not be doing my work blindly, but also be more considerate about preserving our forests.”
With this in mind, Mr. Khan hopes to be a role model in sustainable logging practices for other logging contractors. The Ministry will be closely monitoring the logging activities in Nakavu to ensure that it complies with the national logging code, which aims to minimize the impact of logging on the environment and to ensure that the logged out area could be successfully rehabilitated.
“I intend to work closely with the Ministry of Forestry and learn as much as I can about reduced impact logging and preserving our forest environment as I carry out my work” Mr. Khan said.
The Nakavu project aims to assist Government to develop improved silviculture research and logging guidelines for natural forest management. It also aims to facilitate increased landowner participation through empowering them with the knowledge to better manage their own forest resources.
The Ministry of Forestry leased 301 hectares from the Nakavu landowners in 1991 for up to 50 years as a research pilot project for the Ministry’s Silviculture Research Division. The project provides the opportunity to study the growth, yield and life cycles of indigenous tree species and to derive management plans on best practices that will ensure the sustainable management of the forests to cater for the current and future generations.
For the past 28 years, the project has provided substantial information on the different types of approaches that could be critical for the sustainable management of the area through selective logging, conservation of trees and plants, and protection of the area’s biodiversity.
The Ministry of Forestry also aims to strengthen the forest policies based on the research project, among other factors.
The Ministry looks forward to building on its research in Nakavu and hopes to work closely with Mr. Khan to empower his company to deliver sustainable harvesting standards.