from Popondetta Northern province only.
Pometia pinnata form nov. (NGI relative)
This form resembles form pinnata and form tomentosa in many of the characters
accept that the bole length is shorter and the fruits are large and edible as that of form
Distribution: New Britain, Manus, New Ireland.
3.0 General Ecology
Pometia pinnata, commonly known in PNG as taun, is a highly valued timber species.
It is a large tree generally growing to 50 m in height and 1.2 m in diameter (Havel,
1975). The tree is found in the lowlands of PNG, at altitudes ranging from 75 to 800
m above sea level (Damas, 1993) particularly in areas with mean annual rainfall
ranging from 1500 to 5000mm and mean annual temperature range of 22-28
(Thomson and Thaman, 2006).
development on well drained fertile loams and clay. In PNG, the commercially
important form of f. pinnata is found on better drained sites, whereas the poorer forms
mainly occur on river flats and low-lying areas (Havel, 1975; Thomson and Thaman,
In lowland forests of Papua New Guinea stockings of commercial sized trees (50 cm
dbh and above) are quite high. In rather undisturbed, closed forests, seedlings
establish and persist with slow growth. The species regenerates by discontinuous
recruitment, favored by small-scale disturbance, but not large gaps. In forest situations
the species has a moderately good self-pruning ability, as frequently exhibited by the
long, clear bole in mature trees. In open situations young trees tend to develop a
coarse, low branching habit and often have poor self-pruning.
Pometia density varies within its distributional range. The lowest density was reported
in Western Province while the highest were recorded in parts of New Ireland and
Madang Provinces (Hammermaster and Saunders, 1995). Inventory data in lowland
rain forests of Managalas Plateaux, Oro Province indicate a range of 8 to 13 trees per
hectare (Table 1) (Piskaut, 2005) which on average is anticipated in most potential
production forests in PNG.
Table 1. Enumeration of Pometia pinnata within the Managalas Plateau, Northern Province (Piskaut,
Total Area (m
In terms of population structure, there appeared to be adequate recruitment into the
Figure 3. Diameter distribution of Pometia pinnata at Managalas Plateau, Northern
Early height growth is fast, about 2 m per annum on sites with good soil fertility and
moisture levels and intermediate to high light levels. After the first few years, growth
rates are typically 1–2 m in height per year. In field trials established at Kerevat,
Dami and Madang, the annual stem diameter increment range from 1.8-3.0 cm (Yelu,
2001). Similarly, in the Solomon Islands the annual stem diameter increment was in
the range of 1.6–2.5 cm, with growth declining with age. The fastest growing taun
trees attained a diameter at breast height (dbh) of 30 cm in 13–16 years but had poor
form and short boles to only 4–8 m.
The species copes well with competition from other trees and crops, but growth will
5.0 Conservation status
According to the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Center (UNEP-WCMC)
wise to list the species under CITES.
6.0 Harvesting and Trade
6.1 Forest inventories and logging acquisition
Accessing information on forest resources and up to date forest inventories is difficult
unlogged forest areas are not readily shared between institutions. The lack of a central
repository for such information made information gathering for this desktop study
difficult. Information on commercial timber stands, density and volume is therefore
limited and the best available information are extracted from the compilation of
inventory data as presented by Hammermaster and Saunders (1995) and those
conducted by forest developers themselves as part of the requirement under the
Environmental Plan. Data on stand densities and volumes may not truly represent the
actual timber stand. For instance, the timber volume datasets as presented by
Hammermaster and Saunders (1995) contain extrapolations for areas or forest types
where data were not available.
Taun is common and commercially exploitable volumes are reported in all coastal and
estimated at around 15 million cubic meters or approximately 13% of all potential
timber species put together.
These figures are based on selected timber concession
Papua New Guinea.
The current accessible and productive forest types are low altitude forest types on
forests compare to other lowland forest types. Note, the mean volumes for all timber
species appear higher, reflecting assumed estimations for forest areas where data is
unavailable. Similarly the taun volumes also appear lower in most provinces. For
an average taun volume of 1.6 m
was recorded in a 0.1 ha or 16 m
Overall, the merchantable taun volume varies from less than then 1 m
/ha in Western
/ha in Madang. Other lowland forest types such as open woodland,
the more productive low altitude forest types.
Table 2. Comparison of merchantable taun volume per hectare (m
/ha) in productive low altitude
forests on uplands and other low altitude forest types for major timber resource provinces (data
extracted from Hammermaster and Saunders,1995, otherwise as indicated).
altitude forests on
Other low altitude
Mean vol./ha for
East New Britain
West New Britain
The acquisition of potential forest areas for forest development follows a very long
The process referred to as the “Thirty Four Steps” (see Appendix I). According to the
Forest Act 1991, all commercial harvesting of forest products require a permit issued
by the PNGFA. A permit is required regardless of whether the forest products
by the PNGFA that are applicable to the type of forest project. Important to the final
approval and issuing of timber permits, the proponent or intending developer provides
a forest working plan (FWP) and an Environmental Plan (EP) that takes into account
the timber area’s topography, the resource density and biological environment of the
area. These plans serve as the benchmark for sustainable management.
The extraction of taun and other timber species in natural forests follows the coupe
based on sustained yield management. Depending on the stand volume, coupes of
varying sizes (from as low as 1000 ha to 15000 ha) are established. Sizes of coupes
are determined by volume of timber on a per hectare basis. The volume of each coupe
represents a 5 year cutting cycle and is divided into subunits called set-ups. Each set-
up covers approximately 150 hectares of forests and represents a one year cutting
There are no set policies specific to the exploitation of taun and other timber species
general guidelines controlling the exploitation and export of taun. Base on timber
volumes in logging concessions, the Forest Authority determines the maximum
allowable exploitation or endorsed volume to be extracted. The endorsed volume
differs for each timber species or species group and varies from area to area (SGS
Reports 2002-2005) depending on stand densities and volumes.
6.2 Log Export
The log export industry in PNG initially focused on the Islands region because of high
between 1982 and 1991 there was no corresponding increase in reported log export
The log export of all commercial trees peaked in the mid 1990’s when log export
each year. However, since then there has been a
steady decline in export volumes to a low of 1.5 million m
in 2001. The years 2002
to 2005 experienced a slight increase in log export levels reaching 2 million m
4). This was probably attributed to resource rich concessions being logged out and the
companies being forced into less desirable forest areas with lower stockings.
It is difficult to ascertain the quantity of taun logs harvested in concession areas. The
Since the engagement of SGS in the mid 1990s, there was a sharp reduction in
undeclared log shipments and deliberate misidentification of species which has cost
millions of kina in lost revenue to the government.
Figure 4. Percentage volume of taun exported from 1997 to 2005
(www.pngfia.org.pg, SGS Log Monitoring Report, 2002-2005).
Taun contributed between 5 to 12% of the total timber volume exported between 1997
towards 2005 (Figure 4). From March 2004 and to March 2005, a total of 145,000 m
of taun was exported with a value of US$9.7 million. In comparison to all timber
during 2004 (Figure 5).
Grey Canarium, 2.3
Kw ila, 2.6
PNG Mersaw a, 9.5
PNG w alnut, 2.2
Pencil cedar, 6.5
Red Canarium, 5.3
Red Planchonella, 0.3
White Planchonella, 1.1
Figure 5. Percentage revenue contribution of major timber species exported in 2004
Table 3 gives a summary of processed taun timbers exported in 2001, 2002 and 2004
determine by market forces. In 2001 a total of 635 m
of processed taun were
countries imported processed taun; Australia and Japan.
Table 3. Export of processed taun from 2001 to August 2004 .
Source: www. fiapng.com.
6.4 Trade Flow
The major trade flow for taun based on SGS Log Export Monitoring statistics are
presented in Figure 6. China is by far the main importer of tropical logs followed by
Japan, and Korea. Up to 90% of PNG sawn logs were exported to China between
2004 and March 2005. Of this total up to 60% were taun timbers.
Figure 6. Trade flow in the international market of taun logs from PNG.
Of the processed logs, Australia and New Zealand are the two biggest importers of
taun (Table 3). The processed taun are mostly exported as rough timbers, beams,
flitches and as square logs.
6.5 Export Discrepancies
As taun is common throughout the island of New Guinea, and the satellite islands it is
hectare. Current export records for January and March 2005 show that 7 to 11 logging
companies were actively exporting taun timbers (SGS Log Export Monitoring
Reports, 2005). The biggest exporters include Rimbunan Hijau (PNG) Ltd, Low
Impact Logging Ltd, Vanimo Jaya Ltd, Ambogo Sawmill Ltd, Cakara Alam (PNG)
Ltd and Kerawara Ltd.
However, within the same period these companies also recorded high discrepancies in
Table 4. Taun export discrepancies in volume exported for January and March 2005.
8607 Low Impact Logging Ltd BUHEM
8537 Cakara Alam (PNG) Ltd ARAWE
8522 WTK Realty
8536 Cakara Alam (PNG) Ltd
8538 Cakara Alam (PNG) Ltd
8743 Low impact Logging Ltd BUHEM
8715 Cakara Alam (PNG) Ltd
8720 Tutuman Dev. Ltd
8691 Cakara Alam (PNG) Ltd
These discrepancies raise some questions for instance:
the validity of the forest inventory survey – whether it was a case of over or
underestimation of timber volumes.
elements of illegal logging where companies are encroaching into areas
outside the demarcated boundaries.
volumes below approved permitted volumes may imply intentional lumping
with lower grade logs. An interview with a former forester with a logging
company confirms this usual but regular practice.
It is worth noting that, logging companies employ certified forestry officers who
prepared export documents comprising species lists and volumes may be knowingly
The fourth goal of the Papua New Guinea Constitution which states
“….for Papua New Guinea’s natural resources and environment to be
This is the cornerstone for forest policy formulation that ensures forest resources of
Guineans now and for future generations.