The Political Economy of Forest Management in Papua New Guinea

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Author: Paul Sillitoe
Date: Mar. 1999
From: Oceania(Vol. 69, Issue 3)
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing Limited, a company of John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Document Type: Book review
Length: 1,003 words

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Edited by Colin Filer. Boroko: The National Research Institute Monograph No 32 and London: The International Institute for Environment and Development, 1997. Pp. viii + 517. Price K32.95

Some anthropologists are increasingly turning their attention to pressing contemporary issues. This welcome book, edited by an anthropologist and with several contributions from anthropologists, reflects this trend. A major issue currently pressing on Papua New Guinea is the increasing rate at which commercial logging companies are exploiting the country's forests. According to statistics in this book, in the last twenty years the contribution of logs to the value of exports has increased from 2% to 20%, their kina (Papua New Guinea's currency) export value has gone up some 70 times, and the volume of logs exported has risen eightfold. Some persons will be appalled at this level of deforestation, notably those who believe in conservation and biodiversity; Papua New Guinea having some of the most extensive tracts of relatively pristine rainforest in the world, both lowland and montane, and a rich heritage of biodiversity. Others will argue, many local people included, that it is an unavoidable cost for material advancement; people anxious for the elusive benefits of development being willing to sell rights in their forest in return for royalties that they believe will advance it. We need to be able to view dispassionately what is happening to this forest resource, to inform policy makers and politicians of the outcome of current trends. This carefully and even-handedly edited volume is a noteworthy...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A54657621