Samoa's forest coverage shrinking

There has been a two per cent reduction in Samoa's forest coverage over a decade, a new study has found. 

A 10-year National Forest Inventory (N.F.I) examining Samoa's forestry coverage reached the conclusions about the country’s diminishing canopy cover. 

However, Moafanua Tolusina Pouli, the Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Division is positive that there will be an increase before the next N.F.I.

"We are optimistic and [are] sure that there will be an increase in our forest cover before the next National Forest Inventory in 2023,” Moafanua, from the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, said. 

"The Government's effort along with the community's effort will not go to waste.

"That's the main purpose of all the campaigns and strategies that has been put in place.

"We want to make sure that we can change the figures and somehow contribute to recover the reduction of our forest cover from the previous surveys."

Moafanua used the 2 Million Tree Campaign as an example of the Government's effort in restoring forests:

"We are working with the Ministry of Agriculture and include food trees with the idea that the farmers can use the fruit while the tree still stands to serve other purposes such as [absorbing' carbon," he said. 

"Another thing is the ecosystem services we get from our forest, for example- the water supply.

"If we have a good forest in the water catchment areas, we can make sure that these water supply has to be sustained."

However, Moafanua said that even though they are expecting an increase, there are factors that can be seen as obstacles such as unavoidable and unpredictable natural disasters. 

"With the way our climate has been changing over the years, it's really hard to be sure,” Moafanua said. 

Other contributing factors to the reduction in forest cover includes, wildfire, deforestation, logging and developments.

However, Moafanua said the Government is looking at ways to tackle those problems:

"Sustainability is the key word for all the strategies and plans by the Government," he said..

"This can be done if we work together and contribute by planting trees and also to protect our environment.

"Collective effort is needed and we can surely make an increase if we keep planting trees and restore our forest.

"Having good forest can be shelter for our native birds and trees."

The 2 Million Trees Campaign was initiated by the Government to plant native and fruit trees from 2015 to 2020 as a way to restore Samoa's forests and contribute to the world’s efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change.

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