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The Elements of Typographic Style

Patagonia Synchilla Snap-T Pullover




Oficinas Caboclas do Tapajós (B&W)

The forest inventories conducted outside of Nugini involved several generations.  The older men knew the names and uses of several hundred trees, but they were also very interested in learning the ways of the younger guys, e.g. d-tapes and hardhats (thx, Iona).

All of the furniture produced by OCT is made exclusively using hand tools (thx, Toby).



Several caboclo communities in the Tapajós-Arapiuns Extractive Reserve wanted to start a small furniture business using selected timbers from the forest.  To do so, they needed to prepare and submit a formal management plan to IBAMA, the Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Natural Resources.  They had no idea how to do this.  I did, however, and so in mid-2004, in collaboration with IPAM and with support from the Overbrook Foundation, I started working with a couple of communities in the reserve to collect the baseline data needed to write a management plan.

The video was shot during the forest inventory and growth analysis work conducted by villagers from Nugini. The fieldwork involved 18 people who worked for 8 days, encountered 5 poisonous snakes, established 1,000 sample plots, and counted and measured 3,452 trees from 42 different species. More information about the Oficinas Caboclas do Tapajos and their forestry operations within the Tapajós-Arapiuns Extractive Reserve can be found here or here.

[NOTE: The management plan for Nugini was submitted to IBAMA and approved, and the community is now harvesting furniture woods from a 100 hectare management area on a sustained-yield basis.]


Palms of Kikori, PNG

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.]


More Myanmar

Kachin woman and child sorting rattan outside of Mytkyina in Kachin State, Myanmar.  Both of their faces are smeared with thanaka, a cosmetic paste made from the bark of Limonia acidissima.

Gung Aung and his elephant, Aung Bu, drag rattan out of the forest in northern Myanmar. [Note: The rattan is Plectocomia assamica Griff., an elusive, monocarpic, large-cane rattan that had never before been collected with flowers and fruits.]

And this is what rattan looks like before the leaf sheath is stripped off to extract the cane.  Well-protected and quite beautiful, actually. This species, known locally as "taung kyein", is Calamus cf. wailong.  It is an important commercial rattan in Myanmar.


Hukaung Valley Rattan Survey

During January and February of 2005, Andrew Henderson and I conducted an extensive survey of rattans in the Hukaung Valley Tiger Reserve of Kachin State, Myanmar.  Rattans are spiny, climbing palms that form the basis of a $6.2 billion/year furniture industry.  The Hukaung Valley Tiger Reserve is one of the largest protected areas in the world (the reserve extends over 2,500 sq. miles), and it is also one of the least explored.  A survey of the world's herbaria revealed that no voucher specimens - of any plant taxa - had ever been coliected from this region.

For six weeks Andrew and I slowly made our way down the Ledo Road, stopping every couple of miles to make a base camp, run inventory transects, and collect samples of local rattans . A total of 15 rattan species were collected from the Hukaung Valley during the survey. Eight of these species were new records for Myanmar (i.e. rattan collected in other parts of S.E. Asia, but never reported from Myanmar); two of the collections were new species to science. Funding for the expedition was provided by the Committee for Research and Exploration of the National Geographic Society and the Center for Environmental Research and Conservation (CERC) of Columbia University.  Deep bows to all for amazing trip...

Additional information about the survey can be found here.

[NOTE: This video documents the first example of an elephant collecting a plant specimen.]

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