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Partners : Partners September 2012
22 AGROFORESTRY SPRING 2012 PARTNERS Daniel Weady Lukus Namai "Teak is very important, it is a high-value timber and it's good to plant teak for commercial timber production in the future," she says. "The ACIAR project has helped broaden the availability of high quality teak seed, which is now being grown for distribution to the farmers." Wielding a large pair of pruning cutters, forestry technician Peter Konia is tending an ACIAR teak trial site, where seedlings from different locations are being compared in terms of their growth characteristics. It is surrounded by the mountains of Morobe Province where one can see large areas of grasslands with distant forest-clad ridges and fields of green, with the occasional small patch of land cleared for gardens and villages. He points to another trial site 100 metres away. "Those teak trees are from Laos. See how well they are growing?" he says. "These ones are from Thailand. They don't grow as fast. This week and next I will prune the teak trees to improve the form of the trees and the value of the timber. They are a part of our lives now." BALSA With an established balsa growing and wood processing industry in East New Britain Province, ACIAR is providing the expertise needed to enhance this industry's value, sustainability and its accessibility to smallholders. It is an especially significant project since income from cocoa production has been suffering due to predation by the moth pest---the cocoa pod borer. Balsa (or Ochroma pyramidale) cultivation is an attractive land-use option for both PNG smallholders and larger landowners. This fast-growing tree can reach 30 metres in height in 5 years and is the source of balsawood---a valuable lightweight material with an expanding market. There are few barriers to its adoption by smallholders, although to be sustainable there needs to be growth of markets along with expansion in the area of trees. The low density and high strength of balsawood makes it a popular material for building light, stiff structures from model bridges to full-sized light aeroplanes. It is also used as a core material in composites---for example, in the blades of wind turbines---and in laminates with glass-reinforced plastic (fibreglass), aluminium and carbon fibre that find uses in the defence, energy, marine and aerospace industries.
Partners 30th Anniversary
Partners January 2013