Palms of Kikori, PNG
Thursday, September 4, 2008 at 1:01PM
[chuck] in Papua New Guinea, Science

About ten years ago, Hank Cauley and I collaborated on an ecoforestry project in the Kikori River delta of Papua New Guinea. Hank, a dedicated non-botanist who was working at the World Wildlife Fund at the time, would later go on to become the U.S. director of the Forest Stewardship Council and a Senior Officer of the Pew Environment Group.  The Kikori project was focused on developing protocols for the sustainable management of local forests, which typically are: 1) tidally flooded, 2) owned collectively by large kinship groups, 3)  too muddy for mechanized logging, and, as a result, 4) not eligible for government forestry programs nor attractive to logging contractors.  In brief, we spent three years working with local communities helping them to manage their forests.  We also set up a small local sawmill.  Both with mixed results...

During this time, my colleague Andrew Henderson (see Hukaung Valley Rattan Survey), was finishing up a field guide to the palms of South Asia and he was looking for places to field test the taxonomic keys.  There are a lot of interesting palms around Kikori that we needed to identify so we invited him to come visit and do some plant identification.  I took my video camera when we went to the field.  It was all great fun and I learned a lot of palms.  So did Hank.

[NOTE: The large log landing and loading dock was filmed upriver outside of tidal forest. The log with the beautiful red wood being sawn at the end of the video is Xylocarpus granatum.]

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