Papua New Guinea
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PNG NFI scientific paper wins international runner-up award

A paper written about the Multipurpose National Forest Inventory (MNFI) in Papua New Guinea (PNG) has won the runner-up best paper award in an international peer-reviewed scientific journal titled: Case Studies in the Environment published in 2022 by the University of California Press in the United States of America.

The paper titled: “Monitoring the Multiple Functions of Tropical Rainforest on a National Scale: An Overview from Papua New Guinea tried to answer three (3) case studies questions which are:

  1. What is the most critical information that a country should collect in regard to national scale forest and biodiversity?
  2. What is the most suitable NFI design to collect information for sustainable management of forest, biodiversity conservation, and climate change mitigation in LULUCF (Land Use Land Use Change in Forestry) sector in national scale?
  3. How important is it to conduct comprehensive national scale forest studies?

The paper stated that “PNGFA had not undertaken a full assessment of the country’s forest resources to date.

Several forest inventories had been conducted in the early 1960s to assess the potential of forest areas and the available forest resources for economic development.

It went on to say that “the NFI protocols have traditionally been designed to assess land coverage and the production value of forest”.

Soil specialist Nalish Sam (with vest) beside the area where the soil profile was measured.

The paper proposes that this approach needs to evolve toward multipurpose resource survey with broader scope, including data on plant and animal biodiversity, forest carbon pools, and carbon sequestration, given the role of forests in addressing climate change.

The authors were recently caught by surprise when they were informed that their 12-page paper had won the runner up award.

They include Ruth Turia when she was still employed by the PNG Forest Authority (PNGFA), Gewa Gamoga of the PNGFA, Dr Hitofumi Abe of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, PNG; Prof Vojtech Novotny of the New Guinea Binatang Research Centre, in Madang, PNG; Prof Fabio Attorre of Department of Environmental Biology, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy and Lauri Vesa of FAO in Rome, Italy.

The geometridae moth species are pinned in a box and dried using light.

This award-winning paper is part of a series of scientific papers submitted to the Case Study in the Environment Journal.

This international award provides scientific credibility to the PNG MNFI and proves that PNG forest researchers are at the highest international standard.

With the effect of climate change becoming more pre-dominant, and the importance of biodiversity increasingly recognized, the need for monitoring the diverse functions of forests is increasing: (1) to make logging and other forest exploitation sustainable, (2) to respond to biodiversity crisis by scaled-up conservation efforts, and (3) to respond to climate change.

As 97 percent of land in PNG is under customary tenure and the forests are owned by the people and communities, it is obligatory for the MNFI team to obtain permission from the forest owners to access forests for field assessment.

This is one of the major challenges to field implementation.

PNG remains one of the biodiversity hot spots.

The awarded paper is publicly accessible from the link: