Vanuatu Sandalwood: growers guide for sandalwood production in Vanuatu

Page, Tony, Tate, Hanington, Tungon, Joseph, Tabi, Michael, and Kamasteia, Phyllis (2012) Vanuatu Sandalwood: growers guide for sandalwood production in Vanuatu. Report. Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), Canberra, ACT.

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In Vanuatu, all forests are owned by custom landowners, and these forests play an important part in the lives of much of the population who live on the 80 islands that make up this archipelago nation. Sandalwood has been harvested and traded by landowners for centuries, but until recently only limited effort has been devoted to regenerating this important natural resource in Vanuatu.

Sandalwood is an important export product that is highly valued in the international marketplace. With other sources of plantation sandalwood being established in Australia, China and India, it is essential that Vanuatu increases the volume and improves the quality of its sandalwood to remain internationally competitive. Government and private promotion of sandalwood planting has led to a rise in smallholder plantings. Although this is encouraging, further new plantings are needed, and greater emphasis needs to be put on improving management practices (silviculture) to improve the quality of sandalwood and retain high-value, niche markets. This is particularly important because Vanuatu, due to its small land area and population, will always remain a small-volume producer.

The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) has supported research into the growing and marketing of sandalwood in Vanuatu for a number of years. Much experience in sandalwood silviculture now exists and is being applied in parts of the country. However, this knowledge needs to be more widely available in a format that local people can easily understand. Optimising management practices, such as site and host selection, spacing and weeding, can improve productivity and reduce time to harvest. Appropriate use of simple pruning can also lead to improved yields and product quality. This guide addresses these issues and will be distributed to isolated growers who are unable to visit Department of Forests offices.

A vibrant, plantation-based sandalwood industry in Vanuatu has the potential to reduce reliance on depleted wild stands, provide significant cash incomes for landowners and add considerable value to the national economy. Sandalwood’s high value and small size make it unique among forestry trees in that it can be incorporated into smaller ornamental gardens and boundary plantings as well as larger commercial plantings. Its small size has also allowed women and children to be involved in its production, thereby opening up income opportunities for these groups. This growers' guide will help the people of Vanuatu and other Pacific island countries to participate in this lucrative rural industry and take advantage of its economic opportunities.

Item ID: 23336
Item Type: Report (Report)
ISBN: 978-1-921962-81-3
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2013 04:25
FoR Codes: 07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0705 Forestry Sciences > 070501 Agroforestry @ 100%
SEO Codes: 82 PLANT PRODUCTION AND PLANT PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8201 Forestry > 820103 Integration of Farm and Forestry @ 100%
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