Enhancing returns from high-value agroforestry species in Vanuatu

Project code
AUD 1,564,973
Research program manager
Dr Nora Devoe
Project leader
Tony Page, University of Sunshine Coast
Commissioned organisation
University of the Sunshine Coast
JUN 2017
JUN 2022
Project status
Legally committed/Active
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This project is advancing the Vanuatu planted forestry sector by improving the availability of new and existing technologies and facilitating wider smallholder adoption of three high-value forestry species. 

In Vanuatu there is great potential for a smallholder-led planted forest industry, based on high-value timbers and non-timber products such as Canarium nut, sandalwood oil and whitewood timber. The Government of Vanuatu recently initiated a Decade of Reforestation, under which it aims to support the planting of millions of trees. 

For this approach to be effective, landowners need access to high-quality germplasm, knowledge of appropriate silvicultural systems and locally appropriate processing systems capable of providing good returns from value-added products. This project seeks to improve adoption of planted forestry by addressing the knowledge and resource gaps for three key commercial species, building on previous research work. 

Conventional approaches for providing extension services to smallholders in Vanuatu are constrained by insufficient government and institutional resources. This project will investigate the applicability and effectiveness of peer-mediated learning (farmer-led extension) in Vanuatu.  

Expected project outcomes

  • Canarium varieties with high yield and large kernels identified and established in seed production orchards. This, along with the knowledge disseminated in a production manual, leading to greater nut product quality and consistency in the supply chain, improved market potential and industry viability.
  • Wider availability of improved sandalwood germplasm resulting in greater investment in sandalwood planting and better quality of sandalwood traded.
  • Establishment of new breeding resources leading to a greater participation of the private sector in improving sandalwood germplasm.
  • Improved knowledge of existing planted whitewood resources promoting additional industry investment in processing technologies and improved supply chain function.
  • Cost-effective methods of whitewood drying and preservation leading to increased utilisation of existing plantings and longevity of dwellings.
  • Improved approaches to extension leading to greater adoption by smallholders of research outputs, proficiency in planted forestry and reduced dependence on formal extension services. 
Key partners
Department of Forests
Department of Industry
Southern Cross University
fact sheet placeholder image
Fact sheet FST/2016/154