Track Record Pacific Island Projects has been supporting natural resource management initiatives since 2005. We're proud of our track record to-date, and pleased that one project nearly always leads to another.
Mar 1 2017



News Update

Tenkyu tru to all the villagerCFP_News_updateMs. Melinda Thom, of Ramu Agri Industries Ltd, designing a new ACIAR project activity with men, women and children at Sangkian.s who recently helped Ms Emilie Houde-Tremblay with information about gender issues and household roles. Emilie is a visiting researcher from the University of the Sunshine Coast. Her interviews will be used to design a new ACIAR project which will help people to grow trees for firewood, house poles, fruit and nuts.

This project builds on the results of earlier ACIAR projects which identified galip and taun as trees which villagers may wish to grow as multi-purpose trees. With the assistance of our project partner Ramu Agri Industries Ltd (RAIL), Emilie was able to talk to many villagers to get their opinions and thoughts. Gender issues are important to ACIAR and the PNG government and this project will ensure that people are not disadvantaged or excluded by the way the project is designed or managed.

The new project 'Enabling Community Forestry in Papua New Guinea' will begin in October 2017. Research-for-development activities will mainly occur between Lae, Ramu and Goroka and will include staff from the PNG Forest Authority (Port Moresby) the Forest Research Institute (Lae) the Forest Authority (Eastern Highlands), the University of Technology and the Timber and Forestry Training College at (Lae) and RAIL. The new ACIAR project is being designed with contributions from all stakeholders, particularly women.



CFP_ExtensionMs. Melinda Thom, of Ramu Agri Industries Ltd, planning tree planting with a communityThis webpage presents the results of the research work carried out in Papua New Guinea (PNG) for the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) project titled 'Enhancing the implementation of community forestry approaches in Papua New Guinea'. This research - carried out between late 2013 and early 2017 at Madang, Ramu and Goroka - would never have succeeded without the support of our project partners and their staff, in particluar:

  • Dr. Ruth Turia of the PNG Forest Authority (PNGFA) in Port Moresby;
  • Dr. Martin Golman and Ms. June Mandawali of the PNGFA's Forest Research Institute (FRI) in Lae;
  • Mr. William Unsworth and Ms. Melinda Thom of Ramu Agri Industries Ltd (RAIL) in the Ramu Valley;
  • Mr. Stewart Seware and Mr. Mark Winai of the Foundation for People and Community Development (FPCD) in Madang;
  • Mr. Warea Andasua and Ms. Vincianna Andrew of the PNGFA's Eastern Highlands office in Goroka;
  • Dr. Alfred Faitelli and Dr. Norlie Miskaram of the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) in Port Moresby.

A number of communities and community leaders in the villages of Waritzian, Musuam, Ragiumpun and Sangkian in the Ramu/Markham Valley, Barola in the Eastern Highlands and Sogeram, Aronis and Awane in Madang generously shared their time, knowledge and resources with the project team, and showed us great hospitality in the conduct of the research. We thank them and hope that the project outcomes eventually deliver the benefits to which they and we both aspire, for their and other communities in PNG.

Associate Professor Jack Baynes, Project Leader, University of the Sunshine Coast, Maroochydore, Australia



CFP_PlantingPlanting trees after land has been clearedForest management in PNG is in transition, from export oriented harvesting of logs from primary forest to an increased focus on sustainable management of secondary forests, regrowth forests, plantations, alongside the domestic processing of forest products and a growing recognition of the importance of other forest values such as carbon and biodiversity. There is also a growing recognition of the importance of small-scale forestry operations to process logs harvested from natural forests - locally known as 'ecoforestry'. A number of NGOs have worked with local communities to implement small-scale harvesting and processing with mobile sawmills but evidence of their profitability is scant.

Community forestry in PNG is developing in two main ways which are directly related to the nature and characteristics of the forest or land resources to which communities have access, namely:

  • Community ecoforestry on community owned native forests;
  • Community-based reforestation on community owned grasslands.

The project scoping study revealed the importance of achieving effective engagement, participation and empowerment of communities and landowners (the resource owners) in the sustainable management of PNG's forests. The development of future forest resources was identified as an essential element of achieving sustainable forest management. In addition, community-based reforestation of grasslands showed great potential for producing economic returns to clans, together with positive social and environmental outcomes.



CFM_PottingPreparing potting mix for a community nursery The aim of this project was to identify how community forestry in PNG can be enhanced and scaled up to achieve better economic, social and environmental outcomes. The research activities were undertaked in the Madang-Lae-Goroka triangle which provided good access to both natural forest and grassland sites. The main research objectives were to:

  • Enhance scaling up of community ecoforestry in native forests;
  • Develop appropriate systems for scaling up of community-based reforestation of grasslands;
  • Analyse policy and institutional systems that can support enhanced implementation of community forestry in the PNG.



The key learnings in terms of each of the project objectives are summaried below:

  • Enhance scaling up of community ecoforestry in native forests: A key finding from the research on scaling-up ecoforestry is that there are major barriers to ecoforestry in terms of the challenges of economies of scale to market access, the establishment of multi-clan cooperation (to address economies of scale) and the transaction and financial costs involved in meeting regulatory requirements for harvesting forests for commercial purposes. A further set of findings relates to the social dynamics involved in forestry activities. The most important point is that economic activities, such as forestry business activities tend to be the concern of individuals or small groups rather than clans as a whole, while ownership of land and forests is at clan level. This finding also relates to reforestation of grasslands under Objective 2.
  • Develop appropriate systems for scaling up of community-based reforestation of grasslands: The key conclusion from research into scaling up community-based reforestation in the grasslands is that biophysical aspects of tree growing are subordinate to the challenges of achieving intra and inter-clan cooperation which will allow security of access to long-term crops and protect trees from fire. Multi-species, multi-use, livelihood-based tree and cash crop combinations offer the best hope of farmer adoption and diffusion to other communities.
  • Clan-based governance has not traditionally been focused on economic activities which occur on land allocated to specific families: We have found that, as with mining and other developments, interest in these activities from other clan members increases with their permanence and cash generating ability. Hence, successfully introducing-based reforestation will necessarily require extensive consultation and negotiation. Successfully reforesting the grasslands will depend on livelihood generation as well as small-scale tree planting. Success will be predicated on extended clan-wide negotiations to ensure security of tenure and fire protection for family-based plantings.
  • Analyse policy and institutional systems that can support enhanced implementation of community forestry in the PNG: The key finding of the policy research is that there is no specific policy relevant to ecoforestry, with the result that ecoforestry is, by default, subject to the broad provisions of forestry law and policy, many elements of which have been formulated for large-scale industrial forestry. The effect is that policy imposes significant transaction and financial costs on people and groups who wish to engage in ecoforestry. There is, therefore a significant need to either review general forestry law to enable ecoforestry or to finalise and approve separate ecoforestry policies.



Some project achievements in the Madang-Lae-Goroka triangle are listed below:

  • CFP_NurseryPreparing germination beds in a community nurseryExtension staff have helped landowners to establish seedling nurseries in five communities and two schools. Three of these communities and one school are now self-sufficient with regard to collecting seed, growing seedlings and establishing woodlots.
  • Two communities have experimented with new farming systems by integrating Kamarere (Eucalyptus. pellita) as a cover crop for cocoa. Intercropping timber trees with cash crops will offer farmers short-term as well as long-term livelihood benefits.
  • One farmer has developed his home-nursery into a successful private business. Initially he sold trees in the local market place, but he is now accepting bulk orders for seedlings. Follow-up assistance from extension staff has helped him to improve seedling quality.
  • At Kainantu High School, teachers have incorporated tree seedling propagation into the school curriculum. The high school already has a thriving coffee seedling nursery and it is intended that trees will be used as a shade crop for coffee.



The project resources listed below condense the results of the many site visits, interviews and extension activities. Like all research projects, 'Enhancing the implementation of community forestry approaches in Papua New Guinea' has had its fair share of difficulties and disruptions. However, the overall result has been very positive. We hope you enjoy reading about our work.

Field notes and reports                        

Research papers

Extension materials

  • pdf Nursery training at Goroka  describes the effectiveness of train-the-trainer activities with reference to 2 successful courses carried out in Eastern Highlands province;
  • pdf Nursery training booklet  was developed in Tok-pisin to support the training and extension activities being carried out at the project sites.

Final report

  • Coming soon...

Tree Growers Tool Kit

The research papers and extension materials have been added to the Tree Growers Tool Kit that is hosted on the Resources section of this website.



The design, development, implementation and completion of the project relied on the contributions from many organisations and staff in Australia and PNG. Project activities were financed by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and managed by the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) in Maroochydore.


Project focus area: Communication, learning and knowledge building (CLKB), Community driven development (CDD), Forests, climate change and REDD (FCCREDD)