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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A traditional agroforestry landscape of Ferguson Island, Papua New Guinea Flavelle, Alix J.


A study of a traditional land use system was conducted at Nade, Fergusson Island, in Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea. An ethnobotanical inventory of useful and culturally significant plants, and a series of transects and vegetation profiles were used to identify, and map the distribution of, 15 different plant communities in the Nade landscape. Interviews were conducted with local gardeners about land use decision-making, land tenure, and ecological knowledge. The land use strategy practiced at Nade can be characterized as a polyphase agroforestry system. A spectrum of management techniques are used in the different phases, including the selecting, ignoring, transplanting and/or planting of wild, semi-domesticated, and domesticated tree species. A variety of subsistence products are available throughout the year, from the range of vegetation types. The distribution of successional phases in the landscape was found to depend on topography and soil conditions which vary within the subsistence territory of Nade. Overlying the environmentally determined pattern of the shifting mosaic are the social factors; land use decision-making based on the traditional system of susu land and plant tenure, labour-saving strategies, and agricultural tradition. The study provides baseline data for monitoring changes in the culturally modified landscapes of Fergusson Island. This in turn can be used to facilitate a land-use planning process with local people.

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