Member companies of the Liberia Timbers Association (LibTA) and stakeholders from Ghana as well as the Forestry Development Authority (FDA), the Forestry Training Institute (FTI) and NGOs over the weekend validated the draft manual for the promoting of tree species for investment purposes.
The one-day event which took place in Sinkor, Monrovia, witnessed the participants scrutinizing and validating the Tropical Timbers manual for 65 Liberian tree species frequently extracted as logs by companies for commercial purposes.
In his opening statement at the on-set of the workshop, the Head of Secretariat of LibTA Mr. Ekema A. Witherspoon informed participants that the manual when finalized and published would serve as a promotional document to attract mainly foreign investors in the logging sector of Liberia.
Mr. Witherspoon explained that the manual would ease the burdens investors encountered in searching for the kinds of commercial timbers available in the Liberian forest, noting that once they pick up the manual all information on commercial timbers and other technical details would be available and accessible to them.
He indicated that once the final verification of the manual is completed, it will be printed around November 15-20 this year and also placed on the FDA website; but strongly warned stakeholders not to publish any aspects or the entire contents of the manual now as doing so will compromise the objects of the on-going Tropical Timbers Tree Species Manual Project.
For his part, the consultant of the project Mr. Amadu K. Daniels who challenged the participants to thoroughly scrutinize the draft work stressed that the inputs of all stakeholders were needed to render the document very comprehensive that would reflect the true nature of the Liberian forest sector.
While giving an overview of the current Liberian timber species, he lauded Liberians who are manufacturing wood products for their innovation saying even with the challenge of not having access to manufacturing machineries, they are producing wood products including plywood that meet international standards.
Deputy FDA Managing Director for Operations, Mr. Joseph Tally in brief remarks lauded LibTA for the tree species manual project and pledged his institution’s full support to the initiative saying when published the manual would also provide education for students reading forestry and other interested experts.
Issues covered during the validation exercise include the objects of the project; methodology; Liberian forest resource base; the amount of timber species in Liberia; the current status of the Liberia timber industry and export markets; and product groups which include machine woods, panel products, flooring and decking and heavy duty.
The issue of aligning scientific terminologies or names of tree species with local and nationally acceptable Liberian names of the same tree species was taken into consideration for easy identification of such tree species by investors and other users of wood products.