Land Grab for Logging

What is affected
Type of violation Forced eviction
Date 01 January 2010
Region Oceania
Country Papua New Guinea
Location Western province

Affected persons

Total 0
Men 0
Women 0
Children 0
Proposed solution
Details PNG_Great_Timber_Heist.pdf


Forced eviction

Duty holder(s) /responsible party(ies)

Brief narrative

Papua New Guinea (PNG) is home to the world’s third largest rainforest. After the lease of 5.5 million hectares of land in recent years through the Special Agriculture and Business Lease scheme, today over 15 million hectares—more than one third of the country—are in the hands of foreign firms. With land and vital natural resources taken away from traditional owners, PNG has become the world’s largest exporter of tropical wood. Timber companies argue that logging is an important source of tax income needed for country’s development. The new exposé, The Great Timber Heist, based on field research and analysis of hundreds of financial documents and tax records of the logging companies, details how the use of dubious mechanisms allows them to evade taxes.

PNG villagers outraged over land leases From: AAP October 28, 2010 5:39PM PAPUA New Guinea villagers are angry their government has allocated more than a million hectares of pristine forest for special agricultural leases - which they describe as a land grab for logging. At a landowner meeting in Kiunga, Western Province this week, hundreds of disgruntled villagers said their land had been given away without any informed consent or notification. Western Province now has half of PNG`s allocated 4.3 million hectares of Special Purpose Agricultural and Business Leases, after the government gazetted Tosigiba Timber group and North East Timber 1.25 million hectares on September 23 this year. Last year, the government allocated 853,420ha to companies in the Western Province for special leases in areas such as the contentious Kamula Doso forest that has a court order preventing any forestry activity. PNG`s build-up of special leases has enraged green groups, NGOs and numerous government officials who contacted AAP to raise their concerns that PNG`s forests were under threat by oil palm or logging by stealth. Western Province`s North Fly MP Boka Kondra, who addressed the landowners on Wednesday, told AAP it was a grave concern. They are giving away the land but we don`t know what the future use is or the implications, he said. It is a surprise to see this, I will talk to the ministers concerned to find a possible solution because a lot of people on their land will see this as taking it away. Western Province Land and Resource Owner federation Chairman, Paul Katut, said landowners had been duped. Its unprecedented the government gives one million hectares, he said. We have members of the companies here that all say they didn`t agree to the deal. PNG`s Lands Department grants the special leases to companies to build, for example, oil palm farms, but in the past unscrupulous players have used the leases to bypass laws and cut down the forest, export the logs, and then leave. Greenpeace forest and climate campaigner Paul Winn said increasing special leases was another example of PNG`s disregard for its purported climate change policy and indigenous people`s rights. These leases will never result in agricultural benefits to PNG they are just a way of sidestepping the logging laws, he said. PNG Agriculture Minister John Hickey did not return AAP`s calls, and the Lands Department could not be contacted for comment. Source:

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