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Group Names


The two broad groups of trees are included in this key, namely:
Conifer This category is used for the Cone-bearing trees, such as the species of Araucaria and Pinus that are included in this key.

Dicotyledon Describes the group of trees that are flowering plants.

Note: Woody monocotyledons (such as, palms) have not been included in this key.


These are the non-scientific names used by the forestry and timber industry. Sometimes more than one name is used for the same species. In other cases, one name may refer to more than one species. The names used here are based on the Standard Trade Common Names officially recognised by the Papua New Guinea Forest Authority (Eddowes 1977).

Timber groups

This feature primarily distinguishes between softwood and hardwood timbers; it also distinguishes between the importance of different species as timber trees (such as major, commercial, minor and occasional). Furthermore, the special small group of plantation species has been distinguished by this character.
The six timber groups recognised are based on Eddowes (1977). These include:
Major exportable hardwoods The timbers in this category of trees are recognised as being the major Hardwood timber species harvested from Papua New Guinea.
Commercial hardwoods Many of the timbers in this group have been exported occasionally. However, substantial supplies, on a regular basis, for any particular species in this group would not be reliable.
Minor hardwoods Generally this category includes locally available species that have currently shown little export potential. Regular supplies of any one of these species is generally not possible. Therefore, they are currently of minor commercial value.
Softwoods The conifers have been harvested from plantations, mainly at higher altitudes, and are abundant in some areas, for example, in the Bulolo area.
Plantation species Several indigenous and introduced species have been planted in forest plantations throughout Papua New Guinea. Araucaria and Pinus species are two softwood examples included in this publication.
Occasional timber This category includes trees that are currently regarded as of little to no economic significance. The majority of these trees are limited in their distribution, but they have been recorded as sawn logs or of other utilitarian value.

Note: the term “softwood” refers to the conifers, whereas the “hardwoods” are the dicotyledonous flowering plants.

Timber tree

This features records whether or not a plant is known to be a timber species. If the species is regarded as a Timber tree, then it would also be classified as belonging to at least one of the categories in the Timber groups field. Although the timber of most trees has some local traditional use, such as for the framing of traditional buildings, these examples are not regarded as timber species because they have no known commercial value.
This feature is recorded as either:
yes, or
no – although the wood of a species may been used traditionally, it is not regarded as belonging to one of the categories of timber with commercial value.

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