Improving returns from community teak plantings in Solomon Islands
A recent (2014) inventory by the Ministry of Forestry estimated that there were 15,000 ha of plantations owned by 21,000 separate groups or individual growers. Many of these were planted in the period 1995-2000 and now these plantations are in need of either thinning or clear felling. While the quality of the timber is good, the poor form of many trees is such that most can’t be sold commercially as round logs, which are also difficult to transport to the nearest port. It is important to develop alternative strategies that allow the timber to be processed on site and stabilised through drying, which will make the timber more easily transportable by the small open boats available to growers.
The project aims to develop a practical model suited to Small Island States that enables existing small scale teak plantations to be utilised and provide growers with good returns. This will be achieved by developing strategies that will allow growers to maximise the volume of the timber that can be obtained from their plantations. The project will work to develop correct milling techniques and develop cheap and effective solar drying kilns that can be utilised by growers to meet market requirements.
The specific role of the University of Adelaide in this project is to better understand the market opportunities to ensure these product requirements are translated into appropriate research and interventions all the way along the value chain back to the remote community plantations.
The objectives of this project are to:
- maximise the timber that can be produced from small diameter and poor form trees
- develop a system for value adding to processed timber through air and solar drying
- identify the social and environmental impacts of adopting a system of processing at local level and the effect on the sustained long-term community economic and social well being
- develop an appropriate model for improving economic returns through small-scale forestry in Solomon islands and assess its suitability for other small island states
- investigate post-thinning or harvesting silvicultural management of community teak plantations
- Griffith University, Australia
- Agri-Science Queensland, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Australia
- SPE Consulting, Solomon Islands
- Ministry of Forestry, Solomon Islands
- Lagoon Eco Timber, Solomon Islands
Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR project FST/2014/066), 2015-2019