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Theme 3 –Plants for People

Tropical Indigenous Ethnobotany Centre (TIEC)

Team: Gerry Turpin (ATH, DISITIA), Rosemary Hill (CSIRO), Eda Addicott (ATH, DISITIA), Sarah Warne and Katrina Keith (JCU’s Cairns Institute), Darren Crayn (ATH)

The TIEC is built on mutually beneficial partnerships between Traditional Owners (TO), JCU’s Cairns Institute, DSITIA, CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences and other government agencies and organisations. The centre researches and collates existing ethnobotanical data, promotes and carries out research in a respectful and culturally appropriate way, and provides awareness, training and education. The TIEC aims for recognition as the leader in ethnobotanical research in the Australian tropics, with a focus on north Queensland. Future development may expand activities to include neighbouring countries as appropriate.

Medicinal and Edible Plants of Cape Flattery – Hope Vale

Team: Gerry Turpin (ATH, DISITIA), Fanie Venter (ATH Associate)

Research is being undertaken to document the ways in which indigenous peoples of the Cape Flattery-Hope Vale area (NE Qld) use plants for medicine and bush tucker.

Traditional plant use in Olkola Country, Cape York Peninsula

Team: Gerry Turpin (ATH, DISITIA)

Gerry Turpin studied traditional plant use in the Crosbie Creek area on Olkola Country, Cape York Peninsula. This study was part of the Olkola Cultural and Scientific field trip which included a multidisciplinary team of Olkola Elders and Traditional Owners, Olkola Rangers, geologist, soils scientist, wetlands researcher and zoologists.

Mbabaram Traditional Plant Use research

Team: Gerry Turpin (ATH, DISITIA), Ashley Field (ATH, BRI) and a Mbabaram Traditional Owner

A pilot project with the Mbabaram Aboriginal Corporation, NQ, and Southern Cross University, NSW (SCU), has been brokered by TIEC for SCU to research the properties of medicinal plants of the Mbabaram people. TIEC, with assistance from Mbabaram Traditional Owners collects and prepares plant materials used in traditional medicines. SCU conducts chemical profiling of extracts of materials and biological assays (including for cytotoxicty, inhibition of nitric oxide and inhibition of tumour necrosis factor-alpha) of these extracts.

Developing a sustainable wild sandalwood industry in Vanuatu

Team: Tony Page

In Vanuatu, the Agroforestry and Novel Crops Unit (ANCU), in partnership with the national Forestry Department is identifying the conditions required for a successful wild sandalwood industry based on sustainable production in agroforestry systems. Natural populations of sandalwood are currently endangered due to unsustainable whole-tree extraction. Externally funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR).

YUS Conservation Area: agroforestry and livelihoods

Team: Jonathan Cornelius, Miriam Murphy (JCU), Tony Page

The Agroforestry and Novel Crops Unit at JCU, in collaboration with the Tree Kangaroo Conservation Project (Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle), is implementing the agroforestry and livelihoods components of the YUS Conservation Area project. With project partners Pacific Island Projects and Barefoot Community Organizers, we are undertaking intensive surveys in the villages of this remote area, aimed at establishing a solid socioeconomic baseline for future research-for-development agroforestry interventions. These interventions will make a direct contribution to the long-term viability of this internationally important protected area. Externally funded by Conservation International and the German Development Bank.

Development of a PNG timber industry based on community-based planted forests: design and implementation of a national germplasm delivery system

Team: Tony Page

The production of high quality timber and other forest products from planted trees and forests represents an important development opportunity for Papua New Guinea. This project addresses an important constraint to the development of such an industry, i.e. the unavailability of adequate supplies of timber tree germplasm (seeds or planting stock). We are working in three project hubs in the development of a model approach to germplasm production and delivery, suitable for post-project scaling-up (within-hub) and scaling-out (to new hubs). Teak (Tectona grandis) has been selected as the focal species, due principally to its established high commercial value and demand, growing local interest in its cultivation, and its proven suitability to lowland PNG conditions. Wider application of the approach will be facilitated by the preparation of a “flexi-media” toolkit. As well as documenting the approach, the tool-kit, in DVD form, will include print-ready and broadcast-ready training and extension material designed for different target groups. This project is externally funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR).

Development and delivery of germplasm for sandalwood and whitewood in Vanuatu and northern Australia

Team: Tony Page

This project addresses the fundamental constraints related to the availability of and access to improved tree germplasm (seed and clonal materials) for commercially important species Santalum austrocaledonicum (Sandalwood) and Endospermum medullosum (whitewood) in Vanuatu and Santalum lanceolatum (Qld Sandalwood) in Cape York. This implementation of this project will deploy an improved genetic resource to underpin the emerging sandalwood and whitewood plantation industries in Vanuatu, and to provide a genetic base for future sandalwood plantings in northern Queensland.

Medicinal Plants of Cape Flattery - Hopevale

Team: Gerry Turpin (ATH), Stephanus (Fanie) Venter (ATH).

Research is being undertaken to document the ways in which Indigenous people of the Cape Flattery-Hopevale area (NE Qld) use plants for medicine.

Developing a sustainable wild sandalwood industry in Vanuatu

Team: Jonathan Cornelius (ATH, JCU), Tony Page (ATH, JCU)

In Vanuatu, the JCU Agroforestry and Novel Crops Unit, in partnership with the national Forestry Department is identifying the conditions required for a successful wild sandalwood (Santalum spp.) industry based on sustainable production in agroforestry systems. Natural populations of sandalwood are currently endangered due to unsustainable whole-tree extraction.

Papua New Guinea tree germplasm project

Team: Jonathan Cornelius (ATH, JCU), Tony Page (ATH, JCU) and PNG partners

Development of a PNG timber industry based on community-based planted forests.

Domestication of galip-nut (Canarium indicum)

Team: Jonathan Cornelius (JCU, ATH), Tony Page (JCU, ATH)

In Papua New Guinea, JCU’s Agroforestry and Novel Crops Unit (ANCU), with research partner NARI (the National Agricultural Research Institute), is working on domestication of galip-nut (Burseraceae), a widely-consumed local nut species. Development of the galip-nut industry is an important alternative in cocoa-producing provinces such as East New Britain, due to the continuing spread of the cocoa pod borer.