Usaia Tukana has forestry in his blood.
His father was one of the first foresters after Fiji's independence,
responsible for checking logging operations on the island of Vanualevu,
where Usaia was born. He says, "all of my life has been in the
forest, there was no question of what I would do when I grew
up." He laughs and explains that his entire family has stayed
connected to their roots--his brother is a mechanic for the Fijian
Forestry School, his older sister teaches at the forestry station in
Vanulevu and his other sister married a forester.
Usaia goes by "Usa" (pronounced "oo-sa" or sometimes
as "U-S-A"!). A graduate of the Fiji Forestry Training
Center, he started with Fiji Pine and moved on to work for Tropik Wood and
several other Fijian wood companies. He then served several years on
the Native Land Trust Board, surveying the forests, negotiating leases and
Working now as SFI's Landowner Liaison, Usa spends about half his time in
the forests to make sure the logging is done properly for the best health
of the forests and that the landowners' interests are being served.
He also works with the government to set long term logging policies and
coordinates production with other Fijian companies.
Married, with one son, Usa is very involved in his community and also is
the director of an annual Christian Youth camp which hosts 400-500 kids
for a week of readings and study. He also enjoys rugby and
"meeting people from all around the world." He encourages
you to come to Fiji and see the forest conditions for yourself.