Project lists

Community tree planting project
25 Feb 2020     



Project title:    Community Tree Planting Project [Project ID:  2017P3-PNG ] 

Supervisory agency: 

Papua New Guinea Forest Authority

Executing agency: 

The Voice of Yongos (VoY)

Implementing agency:

Papua New Guinea Forest Authority

Simbu Farmers Marketing Ltd

Budget in USD (total / APFNet grant):


Project duration:


Target economy:

Papua New Guinea

Site Location: 

Yongomugl Sub-District, Simbu Province


Voice of Yongos : Joe Kelly Bik ( )

APFNet: Anna Finke (; Sun Weina ( )





Papua New Guinea (PNG) is one of the most culturally diverse economies in the world. At the same time only about 18% of the population reside in urban centers, indicating that most people are still dependent on the forest. Yet, in the past 30 years much of PNG’s forests has been cut or degraded, leaving local people in peril. This has called national attention, causing the PNG Forest Authority to issues a new goal to replant 250,000 ha of land in PNG by 2025. 

Thus in 2017 APFNet, together with the NGO Voice of Yongos, set out to equip local people with the tools to bring their forests back while also sustaining a livelihood.


Planting the Seeds of Hope


Fig. 1 Establishing nurseries is hard work

PNG does not have a long history of reforestation and is still lacking many basic facilities necessary for reforestation, such as tree nurseries. Unless one relies 100% on natural regeneration, a steady supply of high-quality seedlings of desired species is absolutely crucial for successful forest restoration. Ideally such facilities are also owned by the communities using them. As such 4 larger nurseries, as well as 6 mini-nurseries due to increasing demand, were constructed. These nurseries focused on growing species desired by the local farmers, such as the fast-growing and resilient Eucalyptus grandis, Pinus strobus and Pinus patula. All nurseries have facilities for soil straining, tubing and transplanting of seedlings. Each of the larger nurseries is able to store up to 40,000 seedlings, while the smaller ones can produce and store up to 10,000 seedlings each. All nurseries are owned and operated by individual landowners with the support from VoY and are used by the same to plant around their own and neighbour’s homes. Overall, the nurseries will produce 320,000 seedlings throughout the entire project duration

As nurseries are still a fairly new addition to the landscape, two trainings for about 80 nursery workers, volunteers, tree farmers and family members on basic nursery management skills and quality control were conducted. Each nursery also has a nursery coordinator who is tasked to supervise daily operations, especially seedling production, including seed germination, soil collection, straining, tubing and transplanting of the seedlings into poly bags.


Planting Trees = Planting a Future

Establishing nurseries and growing seedlings was the first step for successful reforestation, but it is far from the only task ahead. Several considerations went into the restoration approach: What are the interests of local farmers? How may climate influence these trees in the future? How can we ensure the results are sustainable?



Fig. 2 Out in the field to plant the seedlings

Many landowners have customary land and thus full jurisdiction over what kind of forest restoration (if any) should occur. Getting consensus from them was key. Fortunately, after many years of working in the area, VoY has gained the trust local landowners, as well as the experience to openly discuss with them land-issues, long-term goals, concerns and realistic options that satisfy landowners, local communities and sustainability goals. 

In order to raise awareness about the long-term benefits of tree planting, VoY conducted several consultations with the customary landowners and taught them about the socio-economic and ecological importance of trees. The three tree species mentioned earlier, while ecologically the most valuable, were agreed upon to build an initial “shelter” for native species to grow underneath at later stages. These species provide both good income and are generally rather universal, hardy and “easy to grow”, thus lowering concerns local people had about success rates. Individual decisions were made based on site surveys and the development of community-based forest management plans (CBFM), which will clearly describe management and necessary site activities, such as boundary clearing, firebreaks, putting up warning signboards, removing fire hazards like broken glasses and site patrolling to prevent tree theft as well as classical forestry activities, such as weeding, fertilizing, pruning, and the replacement of dead seedlings. Overall 180ha of degraded grasslands will be restored to forests.

In order to provide short-term income VoY worked with Simbu Farmers Marketing Ltd to teach farmers how to produce certain vegetables, such as onion, carrot and cabbage as these are domestically in high demand from major wholesalers, supermarkets and catering firms.


Overall, this project puts people at the front and center of forest restoration. With the Voice of Yongos, an NGO with multiple years of experience of engaging with these people, this project will serve as a prime example of how to plant a future together.