Papua New Guinea has been refered to
as the "Last Frontier" for agarwood (also called eaglewood,
oud or gaharu) in natural forests. In PNG, species of Aquilaria
and Gyrinops produce agarwood and trees may be found
in relatively large numbers at some remote forest locations. The
genus, Gyrinops, is closely related to Aquilaria
and in the past all species were considered to belong to Aquilaria.
Morphological differences suggest to some researchers, however,
that Gyrinops is a more appropriate genus to classify
the trees growing in PNG. Agarwood was first discovered and harvested
here in the late 1990's. Although the harvesting of trees for
agarwood began only a few years ago, there are serious concerns
that indiscriminate cutting will rapidly deplete the natural Aquilaria
and Gyrinops resources as it has in Vietnam and other
countries. To prevent this from happening a program for the sustainable
production of agarwood has been initiated.
Our work in PNG, in cooperation with
the Rainforest Project Foundation and the United Nations Food
and Agriculture Organization, includes research and training programs
for rural villagers to produce cultivated agarwood. The sustainable
management of Papua New Guinea's agarwood will help protect and
preserve old growth trees while supplying cultivated agarwood
from managed forest sites. Our training programs and workshops
are bringing new technology to the people of PNG. Pilot field
demonstration sites are being established in four provinces (Central
Province, East Sepik Province, Enga Province and the Gulf Province).
These research and training efforts are an enormous endeavor and
we actively seek new funding sources to carry out this important
work. If you or your employer are interested in supporting our
efforts, tax deductible donations can be made to a special fund
at the University of Minnesota. See the "contributions
page" of this web site.
For more general information about the people and natural history of Papua as well as knowledge about other indigenous people of the world see TRIBE, a BBC educational web site.