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An important objective of programmes undertaken by the FAO Forest Harvesting and Transport Branch during the past several years has been to improve utilization of tropical wood, especially through the reduction of forest residues. Studies by FAO have shown that nearly half of the timber volume felled during commercial harvesting operations in tropical forests remains in the forest as unutilized residues after the loggers have departed. Utilizing even a fraction of these residues would help extend the tropical forest resource and would reduce the area of forest that must be harvested in order to produce the approximately 235 million m3 of industrial roundwood which is removed each year from tropical forests.

The case study reported in this document is part of a multi-year undertaking by FAO to assist the Government of Papua New Guinea to improve harvesting and primary processing of tropical timber. The field work, analysis of data, and preparation of the case study report were carried out by Risto Kilkki, who served as an Associate Professional Officer in the FAO Forest Harvesting and Transport Branch during 1989-1991. Tixon Tiki of the Papua New Guinea Forest Research Institute at Lae actively participated in the study, providing very valuable assistance in making all the local arrangements, which permitted the successful conclusion of the project. Technical reviews of the analysis and report were provided by Knut Foss of the FAO Wood Industries Branch and Dennis Dykstra of the Forest Harvesting and Transport Branch.

This study forms part of a series which has been initiated by the Forest Harvesting and Transport Branch to assist developing countries in promoting harvesting systems, techniques and methods which could help to enhance productivity, reduce wood waste and make forest operations more environment ally acceptable. Emphasis has been placed on systems which will favour local people's participation, increasing employment and income and thus contributing to self reliance and development of local communities in rural areas. A list of publications in the series is provided on the back cover page of this report.

Rudolf Heinrich
Forest Harvesting and Transport Branch
FAO, Rome

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