Meet a Forester, River Ngkeruker Thomas

Meet a Forester, River Ngkeruker Thomas

This month, we are pleased to feature River Ngkeruker Thomas, State Forester with the Republic of Palau Division of Forest, Land, & Water Management. 

What was your first position in the field of forestry?

Forest Monitoring Coordinator.

How long have you been in your role?

Six months.

What do you enjoy most about being a member of the Pacific Islands Forestry Committee?

The best thing, in my opinion, is being able to meet colleagues across Micronesia and in the mainland and gain insight from them about a variety of forestry related worlds. This knowledge can help inform the work I’m assisting within Palau and this information sharing can also help us increase efficiency across the board by learning from one another and prioritizing best practices.

What do you see to be the emerging issues in your island?

In my opinion, one of the biggest issues on island is unsustainable development (housing etc.). More people are moving into less populated states in the island and clearing forested areas to do so. It is important to work with the landowners as well as the state governments, in a realistic manner, to ensure that they are building sustainably with the surrounding environment in mind.

Climate change is also definitely a large and looming issue for the global community and small island nations especially. I think that prioritizing issues that can help mitigate the negative effects of climate change in some form would be extraordinarily helpful – such as reforesting degraded lands in order to prevent soil erosion and pollution to nearby water sources.

What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this?

I’ve always loved dogs! And I think if I wasn’t doing forestry work, I would become a veterinarian or vet technician. I’ve always had a lot of respect for advocates of our furry and not so furry friends.