Track Record Pacific Island Projects has been supporting natural resource management initiatives since 2005. We're proud of our track record to-date, and pleased that one project nearly always leads to another.
Aug 1 2018

Welcome from the project leader


Welcome to our project "Enhancing Value Added Wood Processing in Papua New Guinea" which is funded by the Australian Centre for International Agriculture Research (ACIAR). We are very pleased to share with you our work on the project which aims to increase the contribution that utilisation of forest resources makes to national and local economies, including landowners and processors, through the development of domestic value added wood processing methods.

The project is closely aligned with the PNG Development Strategic Plan 2010-2030 which has a target to increase the level of domestic processing of log harvest from 20% to 80% by 2030. There are many research and structural challenges, constraints and opportunities (at Government, industry, community, and landowner levels) which need to be addressed to support the development of competitive value-added wood industries. The project team will address some of these challenges through research and development activities, such as building capacity in wood science and wood processing technologies, developing a database on PNG timbers through testing wood properties and processing characteristics, trialling options to support increased value adding, and improving knowledge on the potential impacts associated with implementation of this policy.

I am looking forward to sharing with you the achievements of our work.

Prof. Barbara Ozarska, School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences, Faculty of Science, The University of Melbourne, Australia


Affordable wood products for PNG

WPP_Affordable_productsThe forest is a common source of building materials for many rural Papua New Guineans. For most, they can only afford to chop the tree down and use as is for post and house frame. Some Papua New Guineans living in the urban centres can afford to buy a house that has been built with treated timber post (or steel) and furnished with finished forest products.

Still, what is challenging for Papua New Guinea (PNG) is the fact that while the country is endowed with natural forest resources, the prices of sawn timber and finished forest products appear to be well above an average person's salary; hence creating a situation where they opt to buy cheap, imported timber products rather than PNG made products from the urban centres. For the rural folks, they continue to use what the forest provides in its simplest form (post and house frame).

As the country coordinator of this ACIAR funded project, I look forward to the project outcome that envisages some good quality timber products being created using wood processing technologies, and which will be affordable to many Papua New Guineans.

Dr. Ruth Turia, Director Forest Policy and Planning, PNG Forest Authority, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea


Forestry sector plans

LogsPapua New Guinea (PNG) has abundant natural forest resources. More than 60% of the total land mass is forested and owned by customary landowners. Closed forest covers 29 million hectares of which 10 million hectares have been allocated under timber permits for commercial development. Although processed exports bring much greater returns than log exports, currently, only a small fraction of forestry export is wood processed in-country through value-adding enterprises.

The PNG Government has formulated and endorsed the PNG Development Strategic Plan (2010-2030) to foster and bring about economic and social advancement in PNG. Forestry is expected to increase the level of domestic processing of the annual log harvest from 20% to 80% by 2030, thereby building a sector that is sustainable and highly profitable. 


How does the project help?

There is an urgent need for research and technology that supports commercially sustainable log supply chains, knowledge and capacity in wood science and processing technologies, as well as the processing structures which assist successful domestic value-adding wood processing enterprises. Project research activities focus on overcoming the technical, policy and capacity impediments that are hindering the development of value-added products and transitioning the PNG wood sector to a successful domestic wood processing industry.

Machine_2The overall aim of the project is to increase the contribution that the utilisation of forest resources makes to national and local economies, including landowners and processors, through the development of domestic value added wood processing methods. The specific objectives are:

  1. To enhance the knowledge of wood properties and processing characteristics of PNG timbers.

  2. To identify, pilot and evaluate interventions for enhanced value-added processing systems.

  3. To estimate the potential contribution and distribution of economic impacts to national and local economies from enhanced value added wood processing.

  4. To enhance the capacity of Government, institutional support bodies, industry partners and landowners to implement value added wood processing policies, strategies and practices.


What are the expected outcomes?

Economic outcomes

  • WP_-_DeskLocal and regional employment opportunities will increase significantly (450,000 m3 of logs processed domestically would result in 2,250 more jobs);
  • Landowner and processor incomes will also increase through better wood recovery and more collaborative wood processing operations;
  • Local and regional infrastructure and services will expand to support increased domestic production;
  • Well-being of communities will be enhanced through increased wealth generation based on sustainable forest industries.  

Social outcomes

  • Involvement of village communities in the forest industry will increase through production of wooden carvings and handicraft components from low quality timber and off-cuts;
  • Investment in public facilities such as schools, health services, infrastructure, and religious amenities will increase;
  • Organisational health & safety procedures will improve through strong focus on ensuring a significantly safer environment for logging operations and factory workers;
  • Skills and capacity will be developed across professions in response to increased domestic manufacturing activities;

Environmental outcomes

  • Adoption and demonstration of sustainable forest management practices will increase through stronger incentives from global markets for value added wood products;
  • Opportunities will increase for promoting products made from PNG lesser known species from secondary and plantation forests as eco-friendly products.


Who is collaborating on this project?


The project is financed by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) with support from the PNG Forest Authority (PNGFA). Project activities are led by the University of Melbourne with in-country support from the PNGFA in Port Moresby and the Forest Research Institute (FRI) in Lae.

Project activities are implemented in collaboration with another ACIAR project: "Development of durable engineered wood products in PNG and Australia" (led by the Queensland Government's Department of Agriculture and Fisheries).  Both projects are guided by a single Project Steering Committee, which includes the following partner organisations:

For more information, please contact the project leader This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Or read more about the project's multidisciplinary Research Team.


How can we communicate with you?


The project communications strategy involves targeted meetings, seminars and workshops with timber industry stakeholders in Lae and Port Moresby, together with broadscale information dissemination activities that link up directly with wood processors, public sector service providers, domestic and overseas markets.The project outputs listed below are freely available for viewing and downloading.

Project news

Research presentations

Research reports:

Pamphlets for wood processors:


Photo gallery:


12 March-20 April 2018: Two PNG researchers, Elaine Galore of TFTC and Kilva Lancelot of PNG FRI, spent four weeks at the University of Melbourne undertaking training on testing gluing characteristics of PNG timbers. They were trained by Dr Benoit Belleville on how to prepare samples for testing, conduct the tests and analyse results. As the production of laminated wood and veneer products is increasing in PNG their skills will be of a great value as they will be confident to assess gluing characteristics of different species and define which glues are suitable for various service conditions (Photo Credit: Benoit Belleville).


24 April 2018: Project partners attending he fourth joint steering comittee meeting at the Forest Research Institute (FRI) in Lae.


21-29 March 2018: The Crawford Fund supported an intensive one-week training course "Advanced technologies in wood processing and manufacturing of high-quality timber products" for eight delegates from PNG institutions involved in the project. The trainees represented the following sectors: education (PNG UniTech), research (PNG FRI), training (PNG TFTC) and government (PNG FA). Two females were involved in the training which was organised by the University of Melbourne. The training was structured to provide the participants with both theoretical and practical knowledge of advanced wood processing and manufacturing technologies. Feedback from the participants indicates that the training course has exceeded their expectation (Photo Credit: Barbara Ozarska).

"The training has been an eye opener after seeing the operations of timber industries and as well as veneer companies. With the assistance of ACIAR, the PNG government should collaborate with timber industries and stakeholders to work out a way to adopt the practices used in Australia to develop downstream wood processing in PNG"


Nov. 2017-Jan. 2018: A Design Competition was initiated with the aim of encouraging TFTC students and teachers to design portable folded furniture with special joints which could be used by women and children in the villages. Seven designs were submitted of which 3 designs were awarded 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes. Prototypes of the awarded products have been made (see photos on left and right). A program for transferring the skills on how to produce the furniture by rural village people is being developed.

The Design Competition is the result of a collaboration with ACIAR project ASEM/2010/052 "Examining women's business acumen in PNG: Working with women smallholders in horticulture" led by Prof. Barbara Pamphilon from The University of Canberra. The project has been working with remote villages in New Ireland (and other locations) and found that often the women groups don't have any tables or stools which would be used during their planning activities or for children to use for homework activities (Photo Credit: Barbara Ozarska).


28 August 2017: Project partners attending the third joint steering comittee meeting at the Forest Research Institute (FRI) in Lae.


21 April 2017: Project research team presenting their achievements to-date for discussion at the Gateway Hotel in Port Moresby.


The Forest Research Institute's new solar kiln, autoclave and experimental kiln dryer (left to tight)


11 February 2017: Project partners concluding the proect's monitoring and evaluation workshop.


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Project focus area: Communication, learning and knowledge building (CLKB)