[ASC-media] CSIRO: Supporting a new approach to tropical forestry

Rebecca.Eveleigh at csiro.au Rebecca.Eveleigh at csiro.au
Tue Apr 29 03:07:30 CEST 2008

29 April 2008 

Ref 08/61

Supporting a new approach to tropical forestry

CSIRO is providing technical expertise in support of what US science
magazine, Discover, has described as one of 'the six most important
experiments in the world' - the Planted Forests Project on the island of

"This Malaysian project is visionary," says the leader of the CSIRO
team, David Boden.

"Around the world we've seen that conservation in developing countries
will only succeed if there's something in it for the local communities.

"The Sarawak State Government has allocated nearly half a million
One third of the land will be set aside for conservation of Sarawak's
rich biodiversity, one third for use by the traditional ethnic
communities, and one third for the establishment of a sustainable and
economically viable plantation forestry industry." 

According to the Assistant Director of Forests, Sarawak Forest
Department, Joseph Jawa, the project is unique in the region.

"For example, under the project's conservation plan, plantations are
dissected by game corridors of undisturbed forest to help ensure
wildlife does not become isolated and in-bred," he says.

"Timber will be processed locally, bringing more jobs and, because the
Project is under government control, illegal clearing and logging has
been greatly reduced." 

Warren Ellis, the General Manager of Grand Perfect - the consortium
managing the project - says CSIRO is providing support in the form of
its expertise in a wide range of areas from tree improvement, to forest
health, silviculture and forest management.

Mr Boden says that key to CSIRO's involvement is its expertise in
developing tropical acacia forestry plantations.

"The Sarawak government has chosen selected Acacia mangium from Papua
New Guinea and Queensland, Australia, for the plantations.

 "A hectare of acacia plantation can produce more wood than 10 hectares
of forest that had been logged and regrown naturally. That step up in
production could be the difference that makes the whole project viable."

He says that during his travels through SE Asia he has witnessed the
damage caused when rain forest is cleared for oil palm and other cash
"This project offers a new direction - well managed profitable and
sustainable forestry that also delivers for conservation and for the
local people." 

With 90,000 hectares of acacia already planted, the first trees will
soon be ready for harvesting. 

Image available at:
Further Information:
David Boden, CSIRO Forest Biosciences
07 5447 7582; 0428 28982

Visit the Planted Forests Project website at:

The Discover article is at:	

Media Assistance:

Anne Lawrence, CSIRO Forest Biosciences
07 5447 7119; 
Anne.Lawrence at ensisjv.com 


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Beck Eveleigh
Media Assistant
CSIRO Media Liaison
6276 6451
0409 395 010

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