Legal status and management
The state owned forests are distributed into three legal classes:
the reserved forests are properly demarcated and notified under the Pakistan Forest Act. They are free from private rights, but concessions of grazing, passage and collection of dry fuelwood for domestic use are granted. These are the forests most controlled by the Forest Departments;
the protected forests are similar to the reserved forests but certain rights of local residents are recognised (timber, grazing, firewood, fodder, etc.). These forests are somewhat less controlled by the Forest Departments:
the unclassed forests are those awaiting their gazetting as protected or reserved forests. Till such declaration, Forest Departments exercise a lower degree of control.
The cantonment and municipal forests are also divided into reserved and protected forests.
The privately owned forests have been placed under the control of the Forest Departments on account of the regulatory clauses in the forest legislation to ensure their conservation for watershed and environmental purposes. The Forest Departments retain 20% of the income derived from these forests as management charges and the rest is handed over to the owner. Initiative has been taken to associate the forest owners with the management of their forests.
Forest and wildlife management is under the responsibility of the five provincial governments and are managed by their Forests Departments headed by a Chief Conservator of forests.
Management of wildlife is gaining importance. In July 1974 the Federal Government constituted a National Council for Conservation of Wildlife in Pakistan. To preserve an example of each of the country's major eco-systems with its endemic fauna and flora intact, five national parks - Kirthar (Sind) 309 000 ha; Lal suhanra (Punjab) 31 000 ha; Kunjerab (north alpine zone) 23 000 ha; Margalla Hills (north) 12 000 ha; Hazarganjee (Baluchistan) 12 567 ha - 44 game sanctuaries and 65 game reserves have been established. All the provincial governments have enacted wildlife acts/ordinances for effective dealing of the wildlife offences.
Scientific forest management in the country is over a century old. The first Indian Forest Act, which applied to the whole British India (including Pakistan till 1947), came into being in 1865, marking the beginning of regulatory measures of forest resources utilization. Management systems vary according to forest types. Most of the areas are covered by working plans which describe the conditions of the forests, the causes of deterioration and the ways and means to manage them properly. Correct estimates of the growing stock, and annual increment are worked out and suitable prescriptions (including annual allowable cut) laid out for working of the forests to achieve the objects of management. The working plans are revised at an interval of 10–20 years and follow management rules prescribed in the 1965 revision of the “Manual of Silviculture for Pakistan” by H.G. Champion, S.K. Seth, and G.M. Khattak. These rules are still based on very conservative principles which prescribe long rotations of 120 to 200 years and long period of 20 to 30 years for achieving natural regeneration. There are two basic systems of management - selection and uniform systems - which present many variations from one area to the other.
a) The selection system is used principally in the mixed temperate forests. The practice is to mark for cutting a number of trees above a minimum diameter (varying from 60 to 75 cm), under which younger trees have established by natural regeneration. The volume of the marked trees equals the estimated growth occurring since the previous felling. All dead, dying and diseased trees are also cut. However natural regeneration, particularly in fir, is not easily achieved. Heavy grazing is one major reason for regeneration failure. It is difficult to control it since the felling system scatters regeneration efforts over the whole forest. Other shortcomings of the system are the low volumes selected per hectare for felling and the felling of only big trees which are usually overmature and defective, both limitations increasing the costs of extraction.
b) The uniform shelterwood system is usually practiced in the lower elevation chir pine forests. In this system, the canopy is opened up uniformly over the entire compartments or subcompartments and the natural regeneration is to form a more or less uniform and even-aged crop. Most of Pakistan's natural chir pine forests are uneven-aged in their indisturbed form. They are being converted to the uniform system with a cutting which leaves 20 to 25 seed-bearing trees evenly distributed over each hectare. After an area has successfully regenerated, the seed-bearing trees are cut and extracted. The time span for this natural regeneration period is usually 30 years, at the end of which considerable damage may occur to the regeneration when the large seed-bearing trees are extracted. In this system forest compartments are grouped into four periodic blocks, (P.B.I to IV) depending on the age class of the compartment and the prescribed treatment. Assuming a rotation age of 120 years and a regeneration period of 30 years, all compartments classified as P.B.I. should have trees varying in age from 91 to 120 years. These P.B.I compartments are then cut under the shelterwood system so as to contain only natural regeneration aged 1 to 30 years at the end of the 30 year P.B.IV regeneration period. These compartments then pass into the P.B.III classification (31–60 years) and after a further 30 years of growth become P.B.II (61–90 years). There should theoretically be thinning regimes prescribed for these different periodic blocks, but, in the Hazara district for example, none is in fact being carried out. The shelterwood system concentrates regeneration, making it easier to control grazing than in the selection system. It can also produce larger volumes per hectare in the first cut: this depends on the concentration of trees in the compartment as it passes into the P.B.I class.
“Intensive management plans” are being proposed for the temperate forests of the Hazara district. Changes proposed are: (i) reducing rotation age to 100 years; (ii) using a “mother tree system” (instead of the present selection system) which is the same as the uniform shelterwood system used in the chir pine forests; (iii) using artificial regeneration after the main felling, but still leaving up to 50 large trees per hectare to scatter natural seed as insurance against failure in planting operations.
The riverain forests are managed under the systems of “coppice with standards” or “clear felling and artificial regeneration” or “root sucker regeneration system” depending on the local conditions. The rotation period varies from 18 to 20 years.
The mangrove forests are less intensively managed although the aim is to get the highest production of firewood to meet the demand of Karachi, the largest town of the country.
The scrub forests are managed as “protective forests” and no economical gains are aimed at, though some selective fellings have to be done to remove congestion. Soil and moisture conservation is the main object of their management.
Until 1973, the Forestry Departments usually sold by open auction all standing timber marked for felling, which was then logged by private contractors. As a consequence of reported widespread malpractices among contractors, particularly felling of and non-payment for unmarked trees, which the Forestry Departments were not in a position to sufficiently control, the government directed that no new contracts should be entered into and the Forestry Departments were delegated responsibility for this work. The timber flow from the forests significantly decreased as contractors' licenses expired. Forestry Departments are currently managing some small scale extraction but are having to resort to employing the contractors, against whom the ban had been imposed, to execute this work. The present manual methods of forest exploitation have been developed over many years of efforts in order to profitably market timber from some of the world's most inaccessible forests. Besides the extremes in topography, elevations and transportation problems, the management system of marking and selling standing trees has influenced these methods.
Large trees are felled by axes and hand-saws and cross cut by hand saws into lengths of 2 m to 4 m. These short logs are either axe-hewn or sawn by hand-saws into smaller squared timber baulks containing about 1.5 m3 (known as scants). They are either hand-carried or transported by mule or camel for several miles to concentration points. From there, long distance transportation is by river floating, trucks or rail or a combination of these. Because of the need to convert large diameter logs to smaller size scants for transportation, timber marketing has developed around this product, which has become the customary unit of the timber trade.
Cable logging methods were introduced in the temperate forests of Azad Kashmir in 1973 by specialists from Poland, in conjunction with the construction of the large modern sawmill at Mirpur, on behalf of the Azad Kashmir Logging and Sawmilling Company which is a provincial corporation staffed largely by Forest Departments officers.
The following table gives and indication of the timber production in the country (16).
Timber production in Pakistan (including Azad Kashmir)
(in thousand m3)
It may be mentioned that the timber production from forests is substantially supplemented by the timber obtained from tribal areas and farm lands in NWFP, Punjab, Sind and Baluchistan. During 1979–80, the timber obtained from these sources was 800 000 m3 which is more than the total production from forests.
According to FAO estimates (FAO Yearbooks of Forests Products - 1976 and 1978) the production of industrial wood in some selected years has been the following:
(in thousand m3)
|Year||Sawlogs and veneer logs||Pulpwood|
|1961 to 1965 (average)||63||205||268||23|
Sawmilling is the principal woodbased industry in the country. Another primary forest industry is the panel board industry. Pulp and paper making in Pakistan is not strictly speaking a forest industry as it is based on local non-wood fibres supplemented with imported wood pulp. Secondary forest industries include furniture and sports goods.
Other forest products
Residents around the forest collect directly fuelwood from the forests and its extraction goes unrecorded. Riverain forests, scrub forests and mangroves produce mainly fuelwood. It is also obtained as a by-product of logging operations and as wastes from wood processing industries. A substantial quantity is also obtained from orchards, woodlots and farmlands. It is estimated that the country requires about 13 million m3 fuelwood annually (15).
Resin industry is another important forest based industry in Pakistan. Rosin and turpentine are produced from raw resin collected by tapping the chir pine forests. There are three factories currently operating, one at Mirpur and Azad-Kashmir, one at Jhello in Punjab and a third one at Haripur in N.W.F.P. The following table gives an indication of the resin production in the country (16):
Resin production (1976–80)
(in thousand metric tons)
1.1.3 Present situation of the growing stock
On the basis of the working plans the average volume 1 of coniferous forests in 1967 was estimated at 160 m3/ha in the state forests and at 149 m3/ha in Guzara forests making a weighted average of 159 m3/ha. High level coniferous forests comprising deodar, kail, blue pine, fir and spruce are well represented in the Upper Indus Kohistan region which was inventoried in 1972. The corresponding report (6) indicates that the coniferous forests covered an area of 77 000 ha out of a total land area of 376 000 ha. The productive ones contained 245 m3/ha and the unproductive ones 68 m3/ha with a weighted average of 125 m3/ha 2. Growing stock figures for riverain forests are not available. However the production from these forests at 20-year rotation is estimated at 1.65 m3/ha/year (11). On this basis the growing stock of all trees above 10 cm diameter at breast height (VOB) works out to about 35 m3/ha (out of which 10 percent is suitable for timber). Average growing stock (presumably for DBH>20 cm) for chir pine is estimated at 105 m3/ha, though some of the forests contain up to 250 to 350 m3/ha (15). Upland hardwoods are not exploited commercially and no estimates on growing stock are available. Their growing stock is tentatively estimated at 160 m3/ha (12).
The following table of growing stock has been derived on the basis of the above volume estimates.
Growing stock estimated at end 1980
(totals in millions m3)
|Broadleaved and coniferous||-||89||-||(26.9)||-||(14.9)||-||66||-||0.41||-||68.9|
|Woodlands and shrublands||35||7||1.65||0.31|
In the absence of management regulations it is estimated that 50 percent of the growing stock from unmanaged virgin forests is exploitable out of which only 60 percent is actually removed which forms the VAC. An AAC varying from 0.48 m3/ha to 0.95 m3/ha is reported in (11) for coniferous forests whereas (6) has estimated it at 1.18 m3/ha for the coniferous forests of Upper Indus Kohistan region. An average estimate of 1.0 m3/ha has been adopted for coniferous forests. For riverain forests an AAC of 1.65 m3/ha is reported in (11).
1 Volume of trees DBH>20 cm up to 5 cm top diameter.
2 Volume of trees DBH>10 cm up to 5 cm top diameter.
Plantations were established for the first time in Pakistan in 1866 for the production of fuelwood for railway traction. But by the time they were mature, firewood was no longer required because of the discovery of coal in the country. These plantations then produced firewood to the cities and some timber for furniture and the sports industry. Because of the arid or semi-arid climate of the region these plantations had to be irrigated through a network of canals and are referred to as “irrigated plantations”. They are evenly spread covering an area of 177 000 hectares by 1980 (16). According to (8) they covered 140 000 ha in 1971. Each plantation varies in size from 2 000 to 10 000 hectares.
Besides these compact plantations there are linear plantations, along roads, canals and railways, corresponding to a total area of 21 000 ha. They are formed by one to five rows of trees depending on the width of land strip available on the sides.
1.2.2 Areas of established plantations
It can be considered that there are no plantations raised specifically for industrial purposes.
The existing irrigated plantations and linear plantations are primarily aimed at the production of fuelwood though about 10 percent of the yield is utilised for industrial purposes. They are owned and managed by the Forest Departments. Shisham (Dalbergia sissoo) is the most commonly planted species. Other species planted are babul (Acacia arabica), mulberry (Morus alba), semal (Bombax ceiba), baccain (Melia azedarach), etc. Areas of successfully established plantations have been estimated assuming a survival rate of 80% and are presented in the following table:
Areas of established non-industrial plantations estimated at end 1980
(in thousand ha)
|Age class 1||0–5||6–10||11–15||16–20||21–30||31–40||> 40|
|P =PH=PHH 2||Acacia arabica, Bombax ceiba, Dalbergia sissoo, Morus alba, Melia azedarach, etc.||35||85||20||20||ε||ε||ε||160|
1 These figures do not represent the age of the trees since the older plantations have already coppiced once or more times.
1.2.3 Plantation characteristics
Detailed information on plantation characteristics was not found. Present management is based on a rotation of 20 years with commercial thinnings for fuel carried out at intervals of five years. When the crop is felled at the age of 20 years, a few selected standards (40–50 trees/ha) are left to grow for three consecutive rotations, i.e. up to the age of about 60 years, to produce timber. The new stand (at the end of each rotation of 20 years) is started through a combination of root suckers, coppice sprouting and stump interplanting. The M.A.I. has been reported as 8 to 10 m3/ha/year (4) and 12.8 m3/ha/year (9), whereas (11) reports an annual production of 6.34 m3/ha/year.
2. Present trends
2.1 Natural woody vegetation
Law does not permit deforestation of either the state owned forests or those owned by individuals and communities. No report of deforestation during the last ten years has been found. Yet there is illegal encroachment of forest lands through extension of agriculture. The designated forest area (excluding federally administered tribal areas, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit) is reported as 7 470 000 ha in 1970/71 and 6 748 000 ha in 1979/80 (16). Thus there has been an annual loss of about 1.1 percent of the designated forest area in this part of the country which has an average density of 60 rural inhabitants/km2. For the federally administered region, which has an average rural population density of 91 inhabitants/km2, the loss of designated forest area can be estimated at about 1.67 percent per year. These figures, however, relate to the total area of the land including the rangelands under the control of the Forest Departments. For the closed forest area the annual rate is estimated as 0.35%.
Average annual deforestation
(in thousand ha)
Moreover it has been assumed that the woodlands (NHc/NHO2i) are being encroached on by agriculture at an approximate annual rate of 2 000 hectares.
The forests of the country have to bear a heavy population pressure. Being honeycombed with dwellings forests are subjected to serious degradation mainly due to overgrazing. The soils are deteriorated and the natural forest regeneration is damaged. Quite often forests are set on fire by the local residents in order to obtain better grass for their cattle. These fires destroy the young regeneration and soil microbes and damages the mature part of the vegetation. Lopping of trees for fodder and fuel is common. All these activities result in depletion of the growing stock of woody vegetation and diminishes chances of recoupement through natural regeneration and growth.
2.1.3 Trends in forest utilisation
Introduction of a system of concentrated fellings in the high hills with a reduction of rotation from 120 years to 60 years is being contemplated (15). This results in an increased log output per hectare and also in total output for the period 1981–85. General improvement in the communication system will increase the total forest area economically accessible. This should also result in increased total output. For this purpose, one industrial complex has been planned in the high hill forest of the northwestern part of the country and will consist of a veneer plant (2 800 m3 capacity), a plywood plant (9 570 m3 capacity) and a particle board plant (22 800 m3 capacity) together with a sawmilling unit. One long fibre pulp mill is also planned based on chir pine.
2.1.4 Areas and growing stock at end 1985
The indications given in the previous sections used in combination with the area and volume estimates at end 1980, lead to the following tables.
Areas of woody vegetation estimated at end 1985
(in thousand ha)
|Woodlands and Shrublands||190||190||65||30||95||285||1425|
|Broadleaved and coniferous||N.f1uv||N.f1uc||N.f1m||N.f1||N.f2i||N.f2||N.f2||N.f|
Growing stock estimated at end 1985
(in million m3)
|Broadleaved and coniferous||(87)||(26.3)||(16)||64||0.40||167||69||236|
In the following table it has been assumed that there will be as much plantations establishment in 1981–85 as in the preceding five years Though it can be expected that there will be an increase of the overall survival/success rate, the same has been used conservatively as for the preceding years.
Areas of established (non-industrial) plantations estimated at end 1985
(in thousand ha)
|P =PH=PHH 2||Acacia arabica, Bombax ceiba, Dalbergia sissoo, Melia azadarach, Morus alba and others||35||35||85||20||20||ε||ε||195|
1 These figures do not represent the age of the trees since the older plantations have already coppiced once or more times.
(1) Sheikh, M.I. and Khan, M. 1965 “Forestry in West Pakistan” - Department of Agriculture, Government of West Pakistan - Lahore
(2) Champion, H.G. and Seth, S.K. 1968 “A Revised Survey of the Forest Types of India” - Publication Division, Government of India - Delhi
(3) FAO 1970 “National Forestry Research and Training Programme - Pakistan” - FAO/SF: 83/PAK 11 - Final Report - Rome
(4) FAO 1971 “Intensive Forestry with Fast-growing Species in West Pakistan” - based on the work of S. May - Report No. TA 3012 - Rome
(5) Abeedullah Jan, 1972 “Land Use Survey of Siran and Daur Rivers Watersheds” - Aerial Forest Inventory Project - Pakistan Forest Institute - Peshawar
(6) Malik, M.A., Jan, A.K. and Khan, F.M. 1972 “Forest Inventory and Land-use Report of Upper Indus Kohistan” - Aerial Forest Inventory Project - Pakistan Forest Institute - Peshawar
(7) Anonymous 1974 “National Progress Report on Forestry - Pakistan (1969–73)”
(8) FAO 1974 “Perspective Study of Agricultural Development for Pakistan” - ESP/PS/PAK/74/18 - Rome
(9) Anonymous 1975 “National Progress Report on Forestry - Pakistan (1970–74)”
(10) FAO 1975 “Statistical Data on the Agriculture Sector in Pakistan” - FAO Country office in Pakistan - Islamabad
(11) Nazir, M. 1975 “Forestry and Watershed Development in Pakistan” - Pakistan Forest Institute - Peshawar
(12) Preinvestment Survey of Forest Resources 1976 “Survey Report of Chenab Valley” - Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India - Dehradun (India)
(13) Anonymous 1978 “National Progress Report on Forestry (1975–77) - Pakistan” - Near East Forestry Commission, 8th session (23–28 Feb. 1978)
(14) World Bank 1978 “Pakistan: Forestry Sector Survey” - World Bank Staff Working Paper No. 284 - Washington, D.C.
(15) Government of Pakistan 1978 “Agricultural statistics of Pakistan - 1978” - Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Cooperatives - Islamabad
(16) Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Cooperatives, Food and Agriculture Division Letter of 12/3/81 of Inspector General of Forests/Additional Secretary to Assistant Director General, Forestry Department, FAO on FAO/UNEP Tropical Forest Resources Assessment Project - Islamabad
Papua New Guinea lies in the southwestern part of the Pacific Ocean and covers a land area of 461 700 km2 between latitudes 0° and 12°S and longitudes 141° and 156°E. The country consists of the eastern half of the island of New Guinea, the Trobriand, Woodlark, d'Entrecasteaux and Louisiade groups of islands, the Bismarck Archipelago with New Britain, New Ireland and Manus and the Buka and Bougainville islands of the Solomons.
The central core of New Guinea is a massive mountain chain with peaks up to 4 500 m (Mount Wilhelm 4 508 m) and forming a natural east-west barrier. The mountain chain is made of a series of ranges divided by large fertile valleys at altitudes between 1 500 and 1 800 m. High rainfall is responsible for the existence of many rivers, which are only navigable in their lower parts. Exceptions however are the Sepik river in the north and the Fly river in the southwest, both with extensive herbaceous grass swamps. Southwestern New Guinea is a flat land covered with dry evergreen forests.
The island regions also have prominent mountains, however of much lower elevations: highest peaks on New Britain are up to 2 438 m, on Bougainville up to 2 743 m and New Ireland up to 1 871 m. These islands, with recently latent but still active volcanic phenomena, have highly fertile soils and they concentrate most of the agricultural activity and production of the country.
The climate is moist and tropical except in the southwestern and central southern areas. The southwestern monsoon, which is hot and humid and brings most of the rain, occurs from December to May. High mountains and insular nature of part of the country have a strong effect on the local climates. The central mountain chain is a rain shelter for the southwestern part during the northwest monsoon and so this part is much drier and covered with savannas. There is a considerable variation in annual rainfall which ranges from 980 mm in Port Moresby to more than 5 000 mm on places in the central mountains, where rainfall is distributed all over the year. Temperatures are about 30°C on average along the coasts in the north and show a marked seasonal tendency southwards: in the highlands they range between 9° and 32° C (with frost and higher elevations) and at Port Moresby between 23° and 32°C.
The population can be estimated at 3.1 million in 1980 with an overall density of 6.6 inhabitants/km2. The highlands with more than one million people have a density of nearly 18 inhabitants/km2 while the Papuan coast has only less than 3 inhabitants/km2. The population growth is approximately 2.5%. Agricultural population amounts to 83% of the total population, growing at an annual rate of 2 1% (FAO Production Yearbook - 1979).
1. Present situation
Approximately 40 million hectares, or 87% of Papua New Guinea, is covered with some form of forest cover which ranges from savanna woodlands, swamps and mangroves to lowland rainforests, hill forests and montane forests. Extensive areas of grasslands are found in the highlands and in the southwest. The description of the vegetation types is based on publications (3), (4), (6), (11) and “Tropical Forests of the Far East” by Whitmore.
1.1 Natural woody vegetation
1.1.1 Description of the vegetation types
Closed broadleaved forests (NHC)
a) Lowland rainforest (up to 1 500 m)
Unlike the forests of southeast Asia, dipterocarps are not the dominant family in the canopy of the evergreen rainforests and are replaced by a greater number of other species among which Pometia pinnata (especially on the plains), Ficus spp., Alstonia scholaris and Terminalia spp. are constantly present in the upper storeys. Locally predominant according to drainage and soil are, among others, kwila (Intsia spp.), New Guinea rosewood (Pterocarpus indicus) and the dipterocarp Anisoptera thurifera (or A. polyandra) which, together with Hopea spp., forms a widespread association on ridges and foothills.
On well drained sites with deep soils canopy is well over 30 m and emergents may reach over 50 m. Undergrowth usually consists of vines, many palms, scrubs and rattans. On poorly drained soils an open forest occurs with Planchonia papuana, Bischofia javanica, Terminalia complanata, Cananga odorata, Intsia and others.
An interesting feature of the composition of the lowland forests is the large component of species of secondary succession types. These fast-growing light demanders reach large sizes and are the most valuable wood species in the forest. Their presence is dependent on natural disturbing phenomena like landslides or intervention by man. The most important species of this group are Pometia spp., Anisoptera thurifera, Alstonia scholaris, Spondias dulcis, Terminalia spp., Octomeles sumatrana and others. These forests can be divided into fairly homogeneous systems:
the “west Papuan forest system,” where the Fly river emerges from the mountain, is a belt of rainforest in which dipterocarps like Anisoptera, Hopea and Vatica spp. are mixed with many non-dipterocarp species, principally of the genera Canarium, Eugenia and Lithocarpus. On the steep slopes Vatica rassak is the commonest tree species in all layers. Stocking rate is low to moderate with only a few trees exceeding 68cm DAB 1. The low lying portions are frequently flooded, during periods of high rainfall;
the “Papuan south coast forest system” has Pometia spp. as dominant species, and its composition varies greatly according to the relief. On hilly terrain Hopea and Anisoptera spp. are more abundant. Growing stock is moderate;
the “southeast coastal forest system” extends along the generally narrow coastal plain and foothill area. The forests are dominated by Anisoptera thurifera, especially in the foothills where they form nearly pure stands with a growing stock of 470 m3/ha. They extend virtually into the permanent swamp areas. Other important species are Pometia spp., Hopea spp., Pterocarpus indicus, Planchonella spp. and others;
the “Bismarck forest system” dominates at present the forest logging activites with approximately 80% of all log export in 1969/70. The forest is dominated by Pometia spp. with sometimes nearly monospecific stands of kamarere (Eucalyptus deglupta), especially near the Hoskins, Bialla, Open Bay and Toiru Pandi areas. Other main species are malas (Homatium foetidum), Terminalia spp., New Guinea basewood (Endospermum medullosum), amberoi (Pterocymbium becoarii), Spondias dulcis, erima (Octomeles sumatrana) and New Guinea walnut (Dracontomelum manniferum);
the “Solomon forest system”, has a composition similar to that of the Bismarck system but with local concentrations of Vitex cofassus;
the “Sepik - Ramu forest system” is formed by lowland rain forests dominated by kwila (Intsia spp.) with local concentrations of Agathis labillardierei, especially in the Torricelli mountains and south of the Sepik river. Other species are the usual lowland species such as Pometia spp., Terminalia spp., Palaquium spp., Eugenia spp. and Planchonella spp..
With increasing altitude the forest canopy becomes less variable in height (25–30 m), closure (60–80%) and crown size. Emergents with the exception of Araucaria are lower, reaching 40 m. Trees with large diameters and buttresses become less common but the total number of trees above 30 cm is greater. This forest is very mixed floristically. Locally a small-crowned hill forest occurs corresponding to particular soil conditions. In this type frequent species are Castanopsis acuminatissima, Hopea papuana and the drought-tolerant Casuarina papuana.
1 DAB: diameter above buttresses - 68 cm DAB corresponds to 7 feet girth limit.
b) Lower montane and montane forest
This type of forest is generally found above 900–1 000 m and extends up to 3 500 m. The canopy height decreases to 15–25 m and emergent trees are often absent except for the Araucaria spp.. Undergrowth is abundant. Oaks (Castanopsis acuminatissima) and laurels (Cryptocarya) become prevalent. Upwards, generally above 2 000 m, beech forest prevails, with the valuable southern beech (Nothofagus spp.) in mixed stands occupying the ridges. In the upper zone, above 3 000 m, an Ericaceae forest develops with the Papuacedrus locally present. The canopy is only 12–18 m high. At higher elevations the height of the canopy gradually decreases with on Mount Wilhelm, between 3 500 and 3 900 m, subalpine scrub forest 4–5 m high.
c) Mangrove forest
Mangrove forests fringe large parts of the coasts and form very extensive stands along the Gulf of Papua, near Lae and Madang and in the Sepik estuary. They also occur elsewhere in smaller stands. Most of the mangrove area is very sparsely populated and almost virgin. The general zonation of the mangrove communities appears to be similar to that of southeast Asia and is dominated by Rhizophoraceae. In the Papuan Gulf Rhizophora spp. and Bruguiera spp. are most common and frequently attain large dimensions.
d) Fresh water swamp forest
Fresh water swamp forests occur in southwestern New Guinea along the Fly river and in northern New Guinea along the Sepik river, but also in the back of the mangrove and along several river courses in the intermontane basins. These swamps are regularly inundated by mineral rich fresh water. One tree species often dominates the canopy which is 20–30 m high, with emergents reaching 40 m.
Throughout New Guinea Campnosperma brevipetiolatum is common and occurs in pure or nearly pure stands as well as the sago palm (Metroxylon sagu) which form large stands, sometimes in combination with the former species. Other frequent swamp species are Campnosperma auriculatum Nauclea coadunata, Syzygium spp., Alstonia spp., Terminalia spp., Dillenia papuana and Planchonia timorensis.
Large areas of southern Bougainville, in the regions of Tonolai, of the Luluai river and of the Empress Augusta Bay, have extensive swamps with almost pure stands of Terminalia brassii in association with Campnosperma brevipetiolatum forests.
In the northern part of Papua pure stands of 50 m tall Casuarina cunninghamiana occur as pioneer vegetation on swampy alluvial soils.
Throughout New Guinea Melaleuca spp., which are understorey species in the primary swamp forest, become gregarious after disturbance and then often dominate the swamps.
Coniferous swamp forest with Podocarpus, Dacrycarpus and Dacrydium occur locally above 1 700 m.
e) Littoral forests
They are confined to coastal sandy beach plains and are characterized by a canopy of medium height and an abundance of palms in the shrub and lower tree layers. Common trees are Pterocarpus indicus, Terminalia spp., Planchonia papuana, Nauclea coadunata, Pongamia pinnata, Syzygium spp., Melaleuca, Casuarina equisetifolia and in the southwest Acacia.
f) Deciduous forests
A belt of slightly deciduous forest is present inland from the south central coast, as a transition between savannas and the evergreen forests. This belt is probably due to a combination of seasonal drought stress and shallow soils. Frequent deciduous trees are Garuga floribunda, Brachychiton carruthersii, Intsia bijuga, Terminalia spp., Protium macgregorii and Sterculia spp..
Forests with a marked deciduous character exist in the coastal limestone hills near Port Moresby where the annual rainfall is less than 1 200 mm. Additional to the species mentioned above are Gyrocarpus americanus, Bombax ceiba, Albizia sp., Maniltoa sp., Adenanthera pavonina and Erythrina sp.. This forest has a low and open canopy and in places grades into woodlands.
g) Dry evergreen forests
They are restricted to the relatively low rainfall areas in the southwest on imperfectly drained and gently undulating land. Most common trees are mainly non-deciduous and the tree stratum is relatively open. Epiphytes are poorly developed. Frequent tree species are Acacia, Tristania, Syzygium, Rhodamnia, Xanthostemon, Maranthes, Mangifera, Rutaceae such as Halfordia and Flindersia and Proteaceae as Oreocallis and Grevillea. Near the Indonesian border dry evergreen forest locally grades into woodland with a dense understorey of tall bamboo. Frequent fires lead to the replacement of dry evergreen forest by woodland and ultimately savanna with fire-tolerant species.
Open broadleaved forests (NHc/NHO) 1
Dry woodland mainly replaces marginal forest after the forest's delicate balance has been disturbed by fire, but also occurs naturally on sites where adverse conditions of climate and soil have prevented the development of forest. It is found on a variety of land forms mainly in the monsoonal areas of the south-central coast and south-west Papua New Guinea.
Woodland has a low and open canopy, but the shrub layer is usually dense and thin woody climbers often abound. Grasses, ferns and sedges form a sparse ground cover. The most frequent trees are those of the forest it replaces or grades into, i.e. small-crowned lowland hill forest, dry evergreen forest and littoral forest.
Woodland that is subject to periodic flooding occurs on poorly drained flats mainly in south-west Papua New Guinea, and throughout the country forms narrow bands around permanent swamp, lakes and lagoons that have a fluctuating water-table. Frequent trees in such woodland are Carallia brachiata, Nauclea coadunata and, in south-west Papua New Guinea, species of Melaleuca, Acacia and Tristania.
Gallery woodland lines small streams within savanna and grassland. Many of its canopy trees are deciduous and bamboo is a common feature in the undergrowth. It is probably the remnants of more extensive forest or woodland cover.
Woodland on beach ridges occupies a zone between pioneering herbaceous vegetation and scrub to seaward, and forest to landward. It characteristically contains pantropic trees such as Calophyllum inophyllum, Barringtonia asiatica, Terminalia catappa and Pandanus tectorius.
Swamp woodland occurs in permanent and near-permanent shallow swamp. It is extensive in swamps associated with the lower courses of large rivers, such as the Mambare, Lakekamu and Purari rivers. Except for a more open tree canopy it is similar in structure to swamp forest, and many of the frequent trees are common to both types. On sites that have a strongly fluctuating water level many trees develop adventitious roots and Carallia brachiata and Syzygium sp. are common. Near the coast, trees characteristic of brackish swamp predominate and the fern Acrostichum appears in the ground layer. Where the environment is brackish as well as monsoonal, trees such as Excoecaria agallocha and Melaleuca spp. are common.
Three different types of savanna can be distinguished:
eucalypt savanna: this is the most common type, occurring from sea level to about 1 700 m on a variety of land forms that are never flooded. In hilly terrain eucalypt savanna is commonly confined to crests and upper slopes, while the lower slopes and valley bottoms remain under forest. In areas with an annual rainfall of less than about 1 300 mm and a severe dry season during which up to seven months have less than 100 mm, eucalypt savanna completely covers hills, undulating terrain and plains. Eucalypt savanna is most extensive along the south-central coast, but is also present in intermontane valleys in the central range some 150 km east of Port Moresby and, probably in these valleys has reached the central north coast near Popondetta. Eucalypt savanna consists of a tree layer of one or more of the species Eucalyptus alba, E. confertiflora, E. papuana and E. tereticornis, and a ground layer of mid-height grasses, the most frequent of which are Themeda australis and Imperata cylindrica. Eucalyptus tereticornis is present over the whole altitudinal range of eucalypt savanna and tends to dominate on sites having deep soils: it usually has a straight bole and grows to a height of over 30 m. The other savanna eucalypts are present at the lower levels only; they usually have crooked stems and do not normally grow over 20 m high;
Melaleuca savanna: this is the next most common type of savanna. Occurring from sea level to 500 m Melaleuca savanna is characteristic of seasonally inundated or waterlogged plains and fluctuating river back swamps although it also grows on permanently dry, hilly terrain. It is found mainly in regions with a relatively low and seasonal rainfall in freshwater environment, on brackish sites behind mangroves and on slightly alkaline soils of beach plains. Although most extensive in sout-west Papua New Guinea it also occurs along the south-central coast and, rarely, on the north side of the central ranges. Melaleuca savanna is also found on hilly terrain on the d'Entrecasteaux islands, which have a fairly evenly spread rainfall in places as high as 2 500 mm or more. Various species of Melaleuca are present, all of which tolerate burning, prolonged inundation and periodic drought. Most frequent are M. cajuputi, M. leucadendron and, particularly in south-west Papua New Guinea, M. viridiflora. Individual stands consist predominantly of one species;
mixed savanna: this type of savanna is restricted to south-west Papua New Guinea and occurs on undulating to flat terrain varying from permanently dry to seasonally waterlogged or inundated. Its structure and floristics vary with the depth and duration of inundation and with the frequency of burning. On well to imperfectly drained terrain mixed savanna is 20 to over 30 m high and is relatively dense. Shrubs are relatively tall and dense and compete with the grasses Imperata cylindrica, Ophiuros tongcalingii and Ischaemum barbatum in the ground layer. The most frequent of the many trees present are Tristania, Melaleuca, Acacia and Xanthostemon. Eucalypts, except Eucalyptus alba but including E. polycarpa, are present in many places but are nowhere dominant
1 The following descriptions of open broadleaved forests and scrub formations is extracted from (11).
Bamboo forest (NHB)
Although bamboo often is an important undergrowth in the drier forests, in no report is mentioned that it forms pure stands other than scrub ones and therefore bamboo forests are not considered separately in this study.
Bamboo scrub with emergent tree ferns is extensive on steep, ash-covered slopes in central and northern Bougainville mainly between 600 and 1 200 m. The type appears to be rather stable and may form an arrested successional stage.
Coniferous forest (NS)
Conifers are widespread in the forests of Papua New Guinea but in most cases they do not constitute the dominant part of the forests. However Araucaria spp. in the upper lowland and montane forests, and a community of several conifers in the upper montane forests sometimes form pure stands or are dominant.
Two species of Araucaria occur in the upper lowland and montane forests of Papua New Guinea: the klinki pine (A. hunsteinii) and the hoop pine (A. cunninghamii). The hoop pine is present between 90 m and 2 800 m elevations and the klinki pine occurs between 500 and 2 100 m mainly in the valleys and on the slopes of the central cordillera. Both species are most abundant in the Wau and Watut valleys of the Bulolo river. Here in the rainshadow of the inland valley klinki forms dense stands on the valley floor in the discontinuous emergent stratum of the semi-evergreen forests.
In the montane forest the hoop pine replaces klinki with increasing elevations. Elsewhere both occur in a very wide ecological range but generally in smaller groups. The trees can form giant columns of one metre in diameter and 60 to 75 m in height.
In the New Guinean montane forests conifers are frequent. Podocarpus is common in the lower montane forests and, above 2 400 m, belts of some metres wide and up to 36 m tall occur mainly composed of Dacrydium novoguineense, Papuacedrus spp., Phyllocladus hypophyllus and Podocarpus spp.. Patches of either Myrtaceae or Dacrydium elatum and Podocarpus papuanus are found in the boggy depressions.
Scrub formations (nH)
Scrub occurs on sites that are unsuited to the growth of forest and woodland because of harsh climatic conditions and/or soil deficiencies. In lowland regions that have a strongly monsoonal climate scrub occurs on coastal limestone hills, beach ridges, and periodically inundated, often alkaline, plains. In high mountain regions it occurs above the tree line and on steep summit ridges that have shallow stony soils.
Scrub consists of dense shrubs up to about 6 m high. Scattered low trees are usually present. In coastal monsoonal scrub Hibiscus tiliaceus, Desmodium umbellatum and, on temporarily inundated terrain, Pluchea indica are frequent and Flagellaria indica is a common climber.
Sinoga lysicephala scrub, in mosaic with low sedge-grassland, covers large areas of seasonally inundated plain in south-west Papua New Guinea.
Styphelia suaveolens locally forms a low, heath-like scrub, in mosaic with grassland, on intermontane valley flats.
In high mountainous areas scrub consists of true shrubs such as Coprosma divergens, Epacridaceae and Ericaceae, and trees that are reduced to a shrub form, such as Pittosporum pullifolium, Xanthomyrtus and Papuacedrus papuanus.
1.1.2 Present situation of the woody vegetation
The assessment of the forest areas of Papua New Guinea has used as baxeline the 1/1 000 000 scale “Vegetation Map of Papua New Guinea”, published in 1975 but established from aerial photographs of years 1943 to 1972 (11). All the areas of the various vegetation types have been measured from the map using a 2 mm × 2 mm dot grid, and, as an average, 1965 has been chosen as the base date. At that time forests covered an area of 39.9 million ha, a figure close to the one often quoted in the reports of 40 million ha. Of these 40 million ha, 21 million ha are considered inacessible or unproductive because located in the high mountains, on steep slopes and in isolated valleys or covered by fallow forest (6) (17) (18).
The woodlands and savannas (NHc/NHO) are a part of the accessible forest but most of these (3.85 million ha) are unproductive (according to FAO document “Forest Resources in the Asia and Far East Region” - 1976). Parts around Port Moresby are utilised for fuelwood production.
Areas of natural woody vegetation estimated at end 1980
(in thousand ha)
The following indications are useful for a good understanding of the above table:
in 1965, according to the map, the broadleaved forests (NH) covered an area of 39.15 million ha, pine forests (NS) 650 000 ha and scrub forests (nH) 85 000 ha. The total area of broadleaved forests are further divided into 2 895 000 ha of fresh water swamp forests, 553 000 ha of mangrove forests (accessible but unproductive: NHC2i), 25 000 ha of productive Terminalia brassii swamp forest and 3 960 000 ha of unproductive savannas and woodlands;
between 1965 and 1980 approximately 380 000 ha of closed forest have been logged over, a large part of which taking place in New Britain. Half of this is included in the logged-over closed hardwood forests (NHC1uc), the other half have been either used for industrial plantations (4), especially at Karavat (New Britain) for oil palm and cacao, or occupied by shifting cultivation but for a small part only since most of the population lives on the main island;
also according to the map (i.e. in 1965) forest fallow covered an area of 1 063 000 of NHCa and 51 000 of NHc/NHOa (“gardens”). According to (24) 70% of the population practise shifting cultivation. In the period 1975–1980 they have cleared annually some 15 000 ha of virgin forest, half of it from unproductive stands (NHCf1), half of it from unproductive ones (NHCf2):
the FAO document “Forest Resources in the Asia and Far East Region” gives an area of 50 000 ha of productive coniferous forest (NSf1). Production of softwood logs comes from the Araucaria bearing hill forest at Bulolo, from other coniferous forests and from the plantations. The remaining accessible virgin pine forest area (NSf1uv) at end 1980 is estimated at 35 000 ha and that logged since 1965 (NSf1uc) at 15 000 ha (NSf1uc=15). The area of unproductive coniferous forests (NSf2i) is estimated at 470 000 ha. Since 1974 chip wood is harvested in the Madang area in addition to the production of logs. It is estimated that it has covered 30 000 ha till 1980 (NHC1uc).
Forests of Papua New Guinea are not owned by the government but by the clans and tribes, as in most of the countries of the Pacific. In 1974 a mere 89 000 ha were stateowned and even this was contested by the people (9) (17). The government has to negociate with the clans and tribes for the use of the forest resources. Many of the traditional ownership groups however are very reluctant to sell forest land even if it is not required by them for development. They usually are only prepared to sell the timber rights for a specific period up to 25 years. At the end of 1976, under the Forest Act 1936, government had purchased the timber rights of 2 226 000 ha (9). Often this purchase is quite complex. For example over an area of 63 000 ha in the Gogol and Naru valley near Madang there are as many as 250 district land owning groups with 8 different languages among a population of only 2 300 people. With all owner groups an agreement has to be reached before industrial development can start (23). In the “Land Groups Act” of 1974 there is a provision to recognize clans as cooperations and the “Land Dispute Settlement Act” provides for disputes over land, boundaries etc. Under the Forestry Act of 1971 timber owners can directly deal with the logging company after the minister in charge of forestry matters declares the area as a “Local Forest Area”. Under Forest Act 1937 landowners may sell small quantities of timber up to approximately 50 m3. Some cutting is allowed on freehold property (9) (23).
Legal status and management
Through the “National Parks and Gardens Act” of 1966 two national parks have been established, Mc Adam of 2 076 ha and Varirata of 1 063 ha (IUCN, List of National Parks and Equivalent Reserves, 1980). In the central mountains an area of 50 000 ha has been designated as a national park and a total of 560 900 ha has been set aside as wildlife management areas and sanctuaries. No more specific information is available but it is likely that in these latter areas only the wildlife is protected and not their habitat.
There are no working plans implemented in natural forests but areas logged are under felling plans. At end 1979 these plans covered 307 000 ha of which 213 000 ha in New Britain and New Ireland. Because of the land ownership pattern the acquisition and management of a permanent forest estate is more a social and cultural problem than a financial one (18). Timber stand improvement treatment has been mainly restricted to the Keravat area (New Britain) in the Pometia, Terminalia, Dracontomelum forest. This treatment was very successful but the forests occupied fertile soils and they have been allocated to agricultural development. Enrichment planting was carried out to a lower extent in the Highlands (Marafunga), in the Araucaria forest at Bulolo and in the Gogol area (16) (19). At Bulolo the forest was first heavily logged and after six months all the trees were killed except those of the required species (Araucaria spp., Pometia tomentosa, Terminalia spp. and Toona ciliata) (13). Elsewhere selective logging occurs without intensive management and the area of intensively managed forests remains very small (NHCf1m=NSf1m=ε).
The forest resources of Papua New Guinea are extensive but very heterogeneous. For example a 18 000 ha block near Port Moresby contains more than 75 hardwood species with commercial possibilities and the 10 commonest species account for less than half of the standing volume. The extreme species diversity along with the widely differing properties of the woods makes marketing difficult. So foreign investors have not shown too much interest in many of the 21 major development areas with a total of 2 226 000 ha of timber rights, also because of government obligations of local processing (28). In 1977 10 major timber companies were operating in a total concession area of 813 200 ha (18) (20). The present modified policy is to encourage log exports especially of the lesser known species, but more by joint national/provincial ventures than by foreign held companies (26). All conifers, ebony and Cordia however are banned from export as logs (27). Tree size limit for logging is set for each species and is generally more than 50 cm diameter above buttresses (DAB) for woodlogs and above 20 cm DAB for chip logs.
The official figures for timber output as given in the statistics of the government and the FAO Yearbook of Forest Products are as follows:
Production of roundwood from 1952 to 1978
(in thousand m3)
The small scale forest activity (up to 50 m3 per permit) accounted for 9,5% of the total cut in 1976 (17).
The main timber species are taun (Pometia spp.) kwila (Intsia spp.), New Guinea rosewood (Pterocarpus indicus), New Guinea walnut (Dracontomelum mangiferum), Anisoptera polyandra, white cheesewood (Alstonia scholaris), klinki (Araucaria hunsteinii), hoop pine (A. cunninghamii), erima (Octomeles sumatrana), Anthocephalus spp., red cedar (Toona sureni), pencil cedar (Palaquium spp.), Aglaia spp., Hopea spp., Campnosperma brevipetiolatum, Calophyllum spp., kauri pine (Agathis alba), Tetrameles nudiflora, water/gum (Eugenia spp.) Amoora cucullata, Terminalia spp., ebony (Diospyros spp.), kamarere (Eucalyptus deglupta), wau beech (Elmerrillia papuana), beech (Nothofagus spp.) and others (6) (15). The exploitation is very selective and the average output is rather small. Kwila is the most valuable species (21). According to the Forestry Department the crop volume of all species above 50 cm diameter is in the range of 50–150 m3/ha, based on inventory results. In the Vanimo area the net (i.e. defective volume excluded) merchantable standing volumes are for the lowlands 36.1 m3/ha and 50.7 m3/ha for the hills and the average net merchantable volume of trees above 68 cm DBH is 25.9 m3/ha (after FAO document “Forest Resources in Asia and Far East Region”). In the Gogol area the volume of trees above 25 cm DAB is 29.5 m3/ha (21). The defect allowance for the net volume is 20% and about 40% of the net volume should be deducted for wastage during logging and transport (25).
One of the few factories in the world for the chipping of mixed tropical hardwoods operates in the Gogol forest area near Madang. In this forest up to 66% of the total wood is less than 50 cm DAB and is designated for chipping for pulp production. The forest stand contains an average of 29.5 m3/ha of sawlogs and 56.4 m3/ha of chiplogs (50 cm DAB) (23).
Production started in 1974 and according to the FAO Yearbook of Forest Products has been as follows:
Production of pulpwood
(in thousand m3)
Other forest products
Fuelwood and charcoal are major forest products with an estimated consumption of about 5 million m3 for 1978 (FAO Yearbook for Forest Products). Consumption takes place near the villages and towns and generally fuelwood is collected from the nearby forest land where supply is sufficient. But in the Highlands where also heating is necessary there is a shortage of wood and plantations have been established to match the demand (25).
Bark collection of mangrove for tannin production was started in the fifties but the industry had a short life (12). The only commercial exploitation at present is the use of some mangrove wood at New Ireland for smoking tuna.
Other vegetal products are sandalwood, damar, copal, rattan, cane, massoy bar, Mentha arvensis (mint), Calophyllum nuts and cinnamon oil (21) (29).
Wildlife is very important as food for the rural people. Trees are often felled to capture animals and also many of the grasslands are created and maintained by fire started for hunting. The two crocodile species (Crocodylus porosus and C. novaeguineae) which are both included in IUCN lists of endangered animals, form the main cashcrop for many villages. They are captured in wild or the eggs are collected and raised. The skins are sold mainly for export. Major areas are the Fly river basin, the Gulf area and Sepik river basin. On an average the annual earning has been US$ 650 000 per year (17).