Integrated Community Training

Sustainability in Ownership

Environmental Auditing in Forestry: a case study from Papua New Guinea


From October 1998 to July 1999, an environmental audit was conducted in Wandumi Village of the Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea (PNG). The key objectives were to test the audit framework, and to determine the status of forestry and forestry benefits at village level from the perspective of sustainable livelihoods. The framework combined four interrelated components: State of Environment report (SoE), Policy Impact Assessment (PIA), Review of Internal Practices (RIP), and a Management Audit (MA). While information on the natural and human-made stock was derived from the Papua New Guinea Resource Information System (PNGRIS) and the National Forest Service (NFS) records, all the information on the cultural status of the Village and information for the PIA, the RIP and the MA was derived from structured questionnaires, open interviews and general observations.

Each component of SoE, PIA, RIP and the MA is discussed in relation to socio-cultural, environmental and economic issues. The PIA assesses section 57 of the Forest Policy (1992) and landowner participation, while the RIP reviews practices of the three key stakeholders, the National Forest Service (NFS), the Village of Wandumi and the Nakokai Timber Resources (NTR). The MA is the audit of the Wau/ Bulolo office and the inter and intra-linkages within and with other agencies, while the SoE establishes the state of Wandumi Village.

The audit established Wandumi Village to be natural resource - rich, with coffee, gold and forestry as the most important commodities. The Village is subsistence based with strong traditional kinship ties, and strong community and church values, but places forestry as the least important activity. While forestry has contributed some benefits to the Village, it is perceived to have failed in providing basic services such as electricity, water reticulation and educational assistance. The analysis of Section 57 of the Forestry Act (1992) indicates a change in the role of the National Forest Service and the acceptance of the Nakokai Timber Resources (NTR) Pty Ltd in a joint venture partnership. The RIP highlights two potential problems from the joint venture and the MA discloses possible weaknesses in the continuity of ventures such as the NFS/NTR joint venture. The conclusion indicates the possible success of the joint venture and the start of a new paradigm in sustainable forest management. Moreover, environmental auditing is found to be of significant potential benefit in sustainable forestry development and management in PNG.

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