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Improving returns from community teak plantings in Solomon Islands

This project aims to develop a practical model suited to Small Island States that enables small scale teak plantations to be used and provides growers with good returns. This will be achieved by developing strategies that allow growers to maximise the volume of timber they can obtain from their plantations.
The Ministry of Forestry estimated in 2014 that there were 15,000 hectares of plantations owned by 21,000 separate groups or individual growers in the Solomon Islands. Many of these plantations were planted between 1995 and 2000 and now need thinning or clear-felling. While the quality of the timber is good, many trees are so poor they cannot be sold commercially as round logs. Round logs, moreover, are difficult to transport to the nearest port. In Cape York Peninsula, where sandalwood occurs naturally, options for commercial development are often limited, but ACIAR project FST/2008/010 showed that forestry provides one of the few promising opportunities.
Turning moribund plantations into economic opportunities will show communities they can derive sustainable income from plantations. Women may develop secondary drying as a business opportunity. Increasing the area of degraded secondary forest that is brought back into productive forest management will provide timber for local processing and sale.