Papua New Guinea Forest Nursery Program Supports Livelihoods and Wildlife

By Thomas Mutton | December 17, 2019

WCS Forest Ecologist inspecting native species including Castanopsis (PNG Oak), Casuarina (yer) and Ficus (kapiak) at the Afoya community nursery in Wamuifa village, Eastern Highlands. Photo by Elodie Van Lierde/WCS.
Native timber species Kapiak (Ficus demaropsis) growing at the Afoya community nursery in Wamuifa village, Eastern Highlands. Photo by Elodie Van Lierde/WCS.

“The timber from these trees used to last for generations. Now people are often forced to use young or softwood trees that might not even last a decade,” says WCS Forest Ecologist Tory Kuria.

In total, over the last two years, more than 30,000 community-grown Highlands timber and tree crops seedlings have been produced. These have been planted over 42 hectares, which is approximately equal to the total calculated area deforested in these communities between 2001–2013.

Planting Yer (Casuarina oligodon) in a non-native grassland to rehabilitate the soil for future agricultural use and to provide firewood for the community at Wamuifa, Eastern Highlands. Photo by Tory Kuria/WCS.

WCS is working with communities to develop participatory land use plans that ban the planting of non-native trees in intact forest areas and put community-designed limits on unsustainable hunting and deforestation practices.

These trees are also used to reforest degraded areas and improve soil quality in non-native grasslands for future agricultural use.

Community foresters and assistants transporting hoop pine (Araucaria cunninghamii), a native timber species, for outplanting to fill gaps in a native forest (enrichment planting) and to control erosion along a steep road in Womkama, Simbu. Photo by Tory Kuria/WCS.

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