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Partners : Partners September 2012
PARTNERS SPRING 2012 21 TEAK Beads of sweat slowly roll down the face of farmer Lukus Namai as he squats over a small teak tree, gently pushing down the earth around it. The farmer taps into his 10 years of experience as he explains that he is planting teak trees now so that in years to come his village will have timber for building houses. Lukus Namai points to the mountains that surround his small village of Marawasa in PNG's Morobe Province; most of the lower slopes have been converted to grasslands over many years. "If we need timber now, we have to travel Jaupo Mimiuna a long way to buy it, then carry it back to the village." Overseeing the teak planting on Lukus Namai's small plot of land is agroforestry project officer David Adzab. He explains that teak trees are an ideal investment for villages in PNG wishing to develop a 'green portfolio', while the eucalyptus trees offer a good opportunity for short-term returns as housing materials. "Teak is a fast-growing species that is in demand around the world," he says. "And these trees are ideally suited for PNG conditions." Teak trees are noteworthy for their capacity to withstand changes in the weather and seasons. The trees' resilience while in the ground is matched in their timber, which is noted for its remarkable strength, durability and dimensional stability. The end product is a highly sought-after commodity with a global market. These properties are not lost on New Britain Palm Oil (Ramu AgriIndustries) landscape and biodiversity officer Gorethy Dispen. At a small- scale tree nursery surrounded by sugarcane fields, she tends to small teak seedlings with a motherly touch.
Partners 30th Anniversary
Partners January 2013