A cash incentive plan to help developing nations preserve their tropical rainforests has been aired at the 190-state United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Bonn this week.

Papua New Guinea (PNG) representative Robert Aisi told delegates at the event, which focused on ways to widen the Kyoto protocol, that farmers could be offered money to preserve trees instead of selling them to loggers.

Mr Aisi said the current commercial value of cutting down forests is greater than conserving them. He said loggers give villagers US$10 per tree and then sell them for up to US$1,000.

The proposed new system would give credits to farmers which could be traded on the international market, similar to the EU‘s scheme to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Mr Aisi, who described forests as assets which should be valued, said PNG has the world’s third largest area of rainforest after the Amazon and Congo.