Wildfire caution for pine plantations
As we approach the dry season, Fiji Pine Group of Companies executive chairman, Faiz Khan, has cautioned people to avoid wildfires at all costs. Mr Khan said wildfires have been a major loss for the pine industry over the years. And the industry at this stage cannot accommodate any further losses given the significant damage from Tropical Cyclone Winston in February. “The losses from the wildfires have been quiet severe, and the time it takes to assess the losses is not immediate,” Mr Khan said. He said some of the pine plantations that are matured enough do survive after the wildfires while the rest are not so lucky. “If the plantation is more than seven years old, the fire does probably feed on the growth sometimes but then it picks up again. That is what is positive about pine plantation,” he said.
Damage from cyclone
Meanwhile, Mr Khan confirmed more than 100 hectares of pine have been re- planted after the damage by Cyclone Winston. “That’s our number one priority during the wet season; our focus is on 100 per cent on re-planting,” he said. Mr Khan earlier had indicated the total loss from Cyclone Winston was $2 million and back tracks the industry five years. “We had about 400 hectares of pine plantation that was affected by TC Winston,” he said.
“About 300 hectares of plantation was about five years old and so it had actually slanted due to heavy rains. “For a good period of 15 years or so, there was very little or no planting and that damages your cycle. We want our forest to be sustained so we have a lot of catching up to do. “There is absolutely no compromise - when the weather is conducive we are planting, and we are pushing to achieve our target.”