Tiwi Islands – Northern Territory

Archive for May, 2009

Great Southern on the Tiwi Islands – Timber, Fear, Intimidation and a great tax dodge

Posted by tiwiccbb on May 26, 2009

Great Southern on the Tiwi Islands – Timber, Fear, Intimidation and a great tax dodge
May 26, 2009 – 1:07 pm, by Bob Gosford
Further to last week’s look at the likely fallout in the NT following the collapse of MIS (Managed Investment Schemes) promoters Timbercorp and Great Southern Plantations I want today to have a closer look at the operations of Great Southern on the Tiwi Islands.

Marion Scrymgour has never been one to hold back from a firmly held conviction – she has been fairly quiet since she stepped down to the backbench from her position as the most powerful elected Aboriginal politician earlier this year but in the last week or so she has come out in strong defense of those she says have been left out of the benefits that may flow from resource developments on her homelands, the Tiwi Islands, just offshore of Darwin.

The ABC reported Scrymgour’s latest comments on 19 May:

The Member for Arafura, Marion Scrymgour, is calling on the Federal Government to investigate the Tiwi Land Council’s finances and its efforts to stimulate economic development on the islands. Marion Scrymgour says she is sick of seeing failed commercial projects on the islands, including the marine harvest fish farm and the Matilda Minerals project. Now the future of forestry projects on the Tiwi Islands, which are run by Great Southern, are in doubt after the company went into administration. Ms Scrymgour says the land council was unwise to set up the deal with Great Southern. “I know a lot of Tiwis don’t have confidence in their own land council,” she said. “They’ve never had that confidence and until the Federal Government steps in with a bit more commitment, they’re never ever going to move forward with any economic prosperity.”

And while Scrymgour might be less than happy with the conduct of the Tiwi Land Council, the ABC report of the same day from her Chief Minister, Paul Henderson, could only muddy the waters:

The Northern Territory Government has promised to help the Tiwi Islands deal with the collapse of Great Southern, which has plantations on the Tiwi Islands. The Chief Minister, Paul Henderson, says the Government is willing to pitch in. “We’ll offer any assistance we possibly can to make sure those jobs are maintained on the Tiwi Islands,” he said. He has spoken to the Tiwi Island Land Council and offered to send across a business analyst to look at options for the future of the plantation.

Don’t you just love it when the left hand and the right hand talk from the same page?

The following day the ABC reported that the Senate Committee currently investigating the Tiwi Islands resource industries was concerned that it had taken 3 days for it comprehend how payments related to the forestry program might be distributed and of a climate of ‘fear and intimidation’ on the islands:

The Senate committee inquiry, which is examining the impact of forestry operations on the islands, yesterday held an in camera session because a number of women did not want to put their names on record. The Member for Arafura, Marion Scrymgour, says the women are concerned about the environmental and social impacts of the operations. She says some women have been threatened with physical abuse if they speak out. “The fear and the intimidation is a real thing and that’s what I keep saying,” she said. “People deny that it happens.” Meanwhile, the committee has raised concerns that it has taken three days of hearings for senators to work out how payments from Great Southern’s forestry operations on the islands are distributed to islanders.

But Senator Trish Crossin says the land council has not adequately communicated the royalty payment process to confused islanders. “They certainly need to be getting their message out better on how that money is collected, how you can access that money and how that money is given.” Great Southern was expected to appear before the committee today but its appearance was postponed because of the company’s recent fall into voluntary receivership.

There is no shortage of shills, hucksters and flim-flam men in the NT – sometimes they sit on the Government benches, sometimes they operate businesses big or small and sometimes they walk into the offices of the largest landowners in the NT – the Aboriginal land councils that, between the four established under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act (NT), administer nearly half of the land mass in the NT.

The Tiwi Land Council is one of the smaller land councils and controls just about everything that goes on on Melville and Bathurst Islands to the north of Darwin. The Tiwi people have always regarded themselves, for good reasons, as linguistically, culturally and politically distinct from mainland blackfellas.

Those distinctions have been good for the Tiwi Land Council – they’ve been able to avoid some of the more egregious attention paid to the activities of their mainland counterparts by governments and the often rabid bites of the mainstream press and the Tiwis have been able to get political and commercial support because of their apparent readiness to do business – even it was business of dubious value.

The deal that is currently under the Senate’s spotlight are the arrangements between the Tiwi Land Council and Great Southern, the promoter of broad-acre MIS forestry schemes on the islands, which have seen vast swathes of virgin tropical savanna transformed into a monocrop of the fast growing Acacia mangium.

Crikey readers will be familiar with the controversy that arose around the Tiwi Land Council’s conduct in relation to the contentious 99-year lease deal over the largest township on the Tiwi islands, Nguiu, from reports from reports in Crikey here and here.

Crikey has also reported on the Tiwi forestry concerns before here and here.

In 2007 the ABC’s Background Briefing broadcast the most thorough media report on the timber industry on the Tiwi Islands to date.

Wendy Carlisle noted that the proposal had some serious problems from the start:

…in the ’90s, former Territory Chief Minister, Paul Everingham’s company, Sylvatech, restarted the dream. It was a grand vision of riches for all. They sought and gained under new Federal environmental laws, permission to clear 28,000 hectares of native forest. But there was no independent environmental impact assessment and no public consultation process

The reports also claimed that there would be a nett greenhouse benefit from replacing the forests with the acacias. Yet there was no reckoning with 9-1/2-million tonnes of greenhouse gases that would be emitted by clearing the forest in the first place. Or that they would be replaced with the acacias that would then be harvested for their pulp.

And an important, some say vital, part of the Sylvatech deal was that it would get to sell off the existing Cypress Pine plantations and Eucalypt logs felled by the clearing of the plantation coupes.

Wendy Carlisle spoke to Professor Brendan Mackey Director, ANU Wild Country Research and Policy Hub about the forests of the Tiwi islands. Mackey gives a clear indication of the importance of the forest cleared on Melville Island.

Brendan Mackey: That’s right, Northern Australia, taken as a whole, is one of the most intact natural areas left in the tropical world. Certainly most of the areas that are what we call tropical woodland and the eucalypt forests on Tiwi Islands, fall in that category. They’re not closed rainforest like you find in the Amazon, they have been severely degraded just about everywhere else in the world, and really Northern Australia, and this is the main point we’re making in our report on Northern Australia, is it represents one of the last chances to do something sensible in a tropical woodland environment.
Wendy Carlisle: Your report looks at all the top of Australia, from Cape York right across to the Kimberley, so in terms of the importance of the Tiwi forest, how significant are they in that huge sweep?
Brendan Mackey: They are the most productive, biologically productive forests in Northern Australia. They have the best rainfall and the best soil, so they really are the jewel in the crown.

Background Briefing again:

Wendy Carlisle: In 2003 Sylvatech and the Tiwi Land Council began exporting timber from the old pines, and the best of the timber from the cleared forests to China. There were wild estimates of the value of the deal to the Tiwis.

ABC News report: It’s a deal that’s worth about $1.5-million a year for the Tiwis who will fill more than half of the expected 250 jobs. Canberra says everyone’s a winner.

Wendy Carlisle: Over the next four years, seven barges of Red Tiwi sailed for China. But it was a fiasco. Instead of being worth millions, the shipments made a loss of over $700,000.

In 2005 Sylvatech was bought out by Great Southern Plantations – which collapsed in spectacular fashion nine days ago.

Tiwi Land Council Secretary John Hicks and the Tiwi Land Council appear to be comfortable with timber and other resource companies that fail. As The Australian’s Paul Toohey reported, Hicks told him that:

…the Tiwis had seen their forestry projects fall apart eight times in the past 30 years. They believe they can ride out the collapse of Great Southern, which acquired the project from Sylvatech in 2005.

“The pattern of these receiverships is not something we’re unfamiliar with,” Mr Hicks said. “Great Southern has far more impact upon us (than previous failures); however, Great Southern don’t own the trees. They’re owned by 2700 mum-and-dad investors and Great Southern managed the forests on their behalf.”

In December 2008 the Senate Standing Committee on Environment, Communications and the Arts commissioned an “Inquiry into Forestry and Mining operations on the Tiwi Islands“, the major focus of which has been on the arrangements between the Tiwi Land Council, Sylvatech and, since 2005, Great Southern Plantations.

To date the Committee has received thirty-four submissions. Like all such inquiries the submissions range from the self-serving to the irrelevant, overly long, tedious or just wrong-headed.

But there are a few real gems, including that of Professor Stephen Garnett of the School for Environmental Research at the Charles Darwin University. Garnett points to a recent research paper that indicates the Tiwi may have been dudded big-time and would have been better off leaving their precious tropical savanna untouched rather than signing up to a tax rort:

The paper estimated that the Tiwi Islands forests that were logged by Great Southern Plantations in 2008 could have been worth up to $110 million under a REDD scheme under the Gold Standard of the voluntary carbon market.
…we recommend the inquiry determine why Tiwi Islanders appear to have been denied the opportunity to benefit from REDD opportunities…We think this is because of the way in which Great Southern finance their operations – that the tax savings available under a Managed Investment Scheme could only be attained if the forests were felled.

Dr Ken Eldridge has degrees in botany and forestry and, with more than 50 years experience of research and development in forest genetics and tree breeding, is well qualified to comment on the Tiwi forestry issues.

His submission expressed his personal opinions, and not those of the IFA or of CSIRO:

My impression of the Tiwi plantations, having seen industrial plantations of many species in several countries, was that ‘GSL have achieved good survival and weed control, and the trees were healthy with little damage from insects or fungi. However, stem and branch form was not good, many trees having forks, crooked stems or coarse branches. Such poor form is common when genetically unimproved ‘wild’ seed is used in Acacia mangium plantations elsewhere.’ Such form deficiencies reduce the return at harvest due to reduced yield and the extra cost of delimbing and debarking, prior to chipping for export at age 8 to 10 years.

In other words – they are planting and growing low grade seed-stock that will give poor returns.

Another of the very interesting submissions to the Committee is that of Peter Robertson, who for several years while living in Darwin and working for an environment NGO undertook investigations into the operation of the Tiwi (Melville Island) plantation project.

Robertson makes several important points about the administrative and corporate arrangements, sales and returns to the Tiwi, including that in addition to the MIS proponent Great Southern Ltd, and project ‘partner’ the Tiwi Land Council:

…there are at least four other corporate entities involved in
the Tiwi Island woodchip plantation project:
– Pirntubula Ltd
– Pentarch Forest Products Ltd;
– PenSyl Ltd; and
– Stratus Shipping Ltd.
There is a fundamental lack of transparency about the legal commercial agreements and contracts
that exist between the companies involved in the exploitation of the Tiwi forests and plantations.

There is far too little readily available information about these companies or the project’s
financial structure showing how much income each is making out of clearing the Island’s forests
and subsequent shipping and sale of high quality logs, or how much each will make out of the
woodchip export part of the project when it commences.

‘Commercial confidentially’ cannot be used as an excuse to deprive the Island’s landowners and
communities of clear and understandable information about the commercial involvement of these
companies in the exploitation of the Island’s natural resources, and the risks involved.

In relation to the valuation of the land used by Great Southern Robertson notes that:

There are two crucial issues here:
(a) how was the leasehold value of the Tiwi ‘Aboriginal Freehold’ land for plantation
establishment arrived at;
(b) how does it compare with leasehold land valuations for plantations elsewhere?
The Tiwi Islanders are being paid “~$17/hectare per annum (+ 2% of net harvest proceeds) for
plantation ready land and ~$1/ha pa for land that is not plantation ready”

There is ample evidence that this amount is a fraction of the amount landowners are paid by
plantation companies in southern Australia. An ANU research paper summarised lease payments
across Australia and found that they ranged from $75/ha/pa up to $300/ha/pa. The average is around $150/ha/pa – or nearly 10 times the amount Tiwi TO’s are being paid. These are already old figures and the current rates are likely to be much higher still.

Concerning the shipment and sale of logs clear-felled from the forestry site Roberston says:

According to GSL and the Tiwi Land Council, under the existing commercial arrangement the
Tiwi Traditional Owners will receive “2% of net harvest proceeds” from the eventual sale of
acacia mangium woodchips from Melville Island.
This means that only after all the other corporate parties involved – GSL and its tax minimisation
investors, Pentarch, Stratus Shipping, etc – have taken their cut of the income and profits will the
Traditional Owners receive a potentially miniscule residual income.
In fact, based on the log sale fiasco, it is quite plausible that they will end up receiving nothing at all, especially if there is a fall in the overseas commodity price for woodchips, which is entirely foreseeable.

And local MLA Marion Scrymgour, never one to suffer a fool gladly, has been concerned about the operations of the Tiwi Land Council for some time. As she said in a letter to yesterdays NT News:

There are many other things I have to say about the Tiwi Land Council and its governance but I will leave that for my submission to the Senate Committee.

Watch this space

Posted in Abetz, Blogroll, buffer, Christine Milne, environment, Global initiative on Forests and Climate, Great Southern, Howard, Indigenous, Landclearing, Northern Territory, Rudd, Tiwi Islands, Tiwi Red, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

GSL Ponzi Scheme – Who will pay for repair of 300 sq kms of weeds?

Posted by tiwiccbb on May 24, 2009


Once upon a time in the woods
Ruth Williams and Philip Hopkins
May 23, 2009
THIS week, the phrase “Ponzi scheme” was attached to collapsed managed investment spruiker Great Southern. It was merely the latest, but clearly the worst, label attached to the company in its 20-year history.
In its time, Great Southern was accused of destroying rural communities, of driving up the cost of prime agricultural land, of flogging tax write-offs and spruiking dud investments.
But, along with its peers in the plantation forestry business, it was also praised – by the one-time federal forestry minister, no less – as “vital” to a plan to treble Australia’s timber plantations, of having a “legitimate and important role to play” in the timber industry, and of yielding significant economic, environmental and social benefits.
By the time the company collapsed a week ago, 47,000 investors had ploughed money into tax-effective managed investment scheme (MIS) products – derived from timber and horticultural plantations – 300 accountants and financial planners had signed on to sell the products, 240,000 hectares of trees had been planted, and hundreds of farmers had sold land to Great Southern.
When Great Southern entered administration last Sunday, it was following the fate suffered just weeks before by its agribusiness rival Timbercorp. Great Southern has an estimated $600 million in debt; its main bankers, ANZ, Commonwealth, BankWest and the Japanese bank Mizuho, are owed $376 million. They called in receivers on Tuesday.
It is an ignominious fate for a company that once boasted a $5 share price, market capitalisation of more than $700 million and that was one of the top-performing stocks on the S&P/ASX 200 in the early 2000s. Its shares are now frozen at 12, its market cap at $77 million.
Great Southern’s expansion capitalised on the Howard government’s Plantation 2020 policy, released in 1997, that aimed to treble plantations in Australia by 2020.
Great Southern Limited derived its name from WA’s Great Southern region – it was here that Great Southern’s first blue gums were planted in 1994 and where, when the company listed in 1999, the vast majority of its plantations were located.
Virtually all the Great Southern region falls within the federal electorate of O’Connor – a seat held by maverick Liberal MP Wilson Tuckey since 1980.
Tuckey, as minister for forestry for three years from 1998, was a prominent advocate of the industry and of Plantations 2020 – to the point that a letter from Tuckey denying a MIS-negative newspaper article was reprinted in Great Southern’s 2000 annual report. The letter underscored the government’s commitment to forestry tax breaks – a 100 per cent deduction for investors in the year they bought the products.
This was important because although Great Southern grew trees, this was not how it made most of its money. Its main business was agribusiness-based, tax-effective managed investment schemes – a business that was about to boom on the back of favourable tax treatment.
From 2003 to 2008, Great Southern raised $1.8 billion from investors, almost two-thirds of which was in sales of blue gum MIS. Each year, Great Southern packaged and released new schemes – initially in forestry, but expanding to olives, vineyards, cattle and more. Its MIS sales grew from $56 million in 1999 to $314 million in 2008.
What exactly was it selling? Great Southern’s prospectus for its 2002 and 2003 blue gum MIS showed investors paid $3300 to Great Southern, or $3000 before GST, to lease one or more woodlots of a third of a hectare.
If ready money was a problem for a potential “grower”, Great Southern could arrange finance (with loans that would later be securitised and sold).
Great Southern selected, bought and prepared the land, planted the trees, monitored them and harvested them in “approximately” 10 years. In return, the grower got a handy tax deduction of $2900 in the year the grower bought the investment.
The tax write-off was the main inducement, but there was also the promise of a return when the trees were harvested in 10 or so years – at which point Great Southern would take a portion of the yield in management fees.
How much of a return was coming? The prospectus makes clear that Great Southern could not make a “definitive” statement on the size of the return growers could expect. But it was happy to give a “reasonable” estimate of net returns of between $1923 and $4569 per woodlot for its 2002 project – after an investor’s initial outlay of $3000 was recouped. The company was banking on yields of 250 tonnes per hectare.
The trees planted for the 2002 scheme are not yet mature, so investors will not receive their returns for some years. What is certain is that their returns will not be subsidised by company money, as earlier distributions were.
Great Southern Plantations 1996 was one of the company’s earliest projects. Based on company documents, the 783 investors in GSP 1996 paid $3000 each for the almost 4000 woodlots they collectively owned.
After investors paid their upfront fees, GSP 1996 sat dormant as the trees grew. There was little to be done until the harvest began in 2007, at which time Great Southern would again earn money from the project, and investors could anticipate a return on that decade-old outlay.
In 2008 – 12 years after the scheme was launched – the project generated $16 million for investors to share, meaning each woodlot returned about $4100. This gave investors a net return of $1100 per woodlot, after recouping the $3000 paid in 1996.
But what was not immediately apparent was that a Great Southern subsidiary, Great Southern Export, bought all the timber from the 1996 project – and paid up to $10 million of the company’s money to improve returns.
In its 2007 half-year accounts for the scheme, the company explains in the account notes that GSE would set its price after taking into account factors like the “actual yields” and the “prevailing woodchip price”. While no “final decision” had been made by the Great Southern board, it was expected that GSE would pay investors a premium “over and above the return they would otherwise have achieved”.
The premium would be “up to” $9.6 million. This means that, of the $16 million returned to investors, as little as $6 million to $7 million may have been recouped from the sale of timber. If investors had only this money to share, they would have taken home between $1500 and $1750 per woodlot – nowhere near their original outlay. This document starkly illustrates two problems with Great Southern. Firstly, the lengthy gap in earnings from the sale of the MIS products to the harvest, forcing the company to survive in the meantime on sales of new MIS products.
The other problem was that the yields were much lower than expected.
TASMANIAN accountant John Lawrence, who lives near Burnie, has kept an eye on the MIS industry since the MIS forestry companies came searching for properties in his region and his clients approached him for advice.
Lawrence claims Great Southern’s yields were kept hidden for a long time. “The first crop was 1994, which they would have harvested in 2005,” he says. “The yield there was about 123 tonnes per hectare, whereas they were projecting 250 tonnes, and the next year was similarly bad, about 160 tonnes.”
Lawrence, and others, noticed a telling change in Great Southern’s accounting practices in the months before it folded.
Great Southern’s long-standing accounting policy was not to recognise the plantation management and property rental fees it would reap at harvest – “until the value of the project’s net harvest proceeds can be measured reliably”, as it stated in its 2007 accounts.
But four months later, a supplementary explanatory document showed a change in policy – a change repeated in its annual accounts.
Great Southern had now decided to “update” its valuation model on the basis that “reliable measurement” of the proceeds of a plantation harvest could be made after four years of timber growth.
This meant it was recognising $17 million in fees for management services performed on trees planted from 1998 to 2003 in its current accounts – even though it would not physically get this money until the trees were harvested in up to three or four years.
Lawrence argues that this proves the company knew it had been overstating projected yields for years. “That was such a damning admission,” he says. “It means that Great Southern have known all along how poor the yields have been because they can assess them at four years – and they never ever told the market.”
It was Great Southern’s continued reliance on drawing in money from new investors, coupled with its practice of beefing up investor returns, that has sparked the “Ponzi” accusations. A classic Ponzi scheme involves investors being paid “returns” out of funds drawn in from new investors. It relies on new money constantly coming in.
Lawrence, for one, is convinced that Great Southern was a Ponzi scheme. On his advice, Greens senator Christine Milne wrote to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission late last year.
Her letter points to what “appears” to be a pattern of misrepresentation, deceptive behaviour and misreporting by Great Southern Plantations, on the basis that its product disclosure statements consistently overstated the yields investors could expect.
ASIC responded that there was “insufficient evidence” to conclude that Great Southern was a Ponzi scheme. “A general indicator of such a scheme is a lack of assets,” ASIC said, pointing to Great Southern’s reported net assets of $329 million at September 30, and its audited accounts.
Although ASIC noted that yields had fallen short of projected outcomes, it was not “necessarily” misleading or deceptive if the company had disclosed potential risks to investors, ASIC said.
If the fundamental purpose of the company – to grow trees – was not going so well, lots of other problems were also creeping up on the company.
Its growing debt, for a start. Great Southern’s policy was to own the land on which the plantations grew, meaning that if it wanted to launch more MIS products, it had to buy more land. And along the way, it bought or established new businesses – rural funds management, cattle stations – in an attempt to diversify from blue gum-based products.
The acquisitions were funded by equity raisings and bank loans. Its debt facilities were extended in 2007, to $350 million from $245 million, at which point the company admitted it had “fully drawn down on the facility to its limit”.
Meanwhile, it was battling high costs – especially the cost of its distribution model. Great Southern spent almost $137 million on commissions, marketing and promotion in two years to 2008. To help convince accountants and planners to sell its MIS products, Great Southern paid commissions of up to 10 per cent.
Late last year, the company unveiled a radical restructure, dubbed “Project Transform”. It involved selling assets to reduce debt, reducing costs and, crucially, buying out tens of thousands of MIS investors – giving them Great Southern shares instead of the harvest proceeds. Continued…
The offer was between 3500 and 6000 Great Southern shares per woodlot – working out at a return of $700 to $1200, based on the 20 that Great Southern shares were wallowing at by the end of the year.
Investors who bought on the basis of that 2002 and 2003 prospectus – who were tempted with possible returns of up to $4569 per lot – were among those approached to convert their holdings into shares. To help them decide, they were given an independent expert report prepared by KPMG. That report included projected yields for the 2003 scheme, calculated by forestry assessor GHD.
In that 2002 and 2003 prospectus, Great Southern said it could “reasonably expect” its trees to yield 250 tonnes, or cubic metres, per hectare. But the GHD projections show that, although a small number of trees were expected to over-deliver at 311 cubic metres, most were falling drastically short, with yields of just 107 to 167 cubic metres.
Why? The trees were growing in a period of drought, for one thing. And Great Southern had, in the past, acknowledged problems with earlier plantings, such as lower-quality seeds and poor choice of sites.
Whatever the reason, the plantation investors overwhelmingly rejected Great Southern’s proposal to swap their trees for shares.
The company released an update to the market in April. The tone was upbeat, but the content was telling. Great Southern could not borrow more money. It was slashing costs, but “cash flows (remained) dependent on the sale of assets and continued reliance on MIS sales”.
Great Southern’s shares were frozen on May 7, and the board appointed administrators on May 16. Receivers are now picking over the company.
Meanwhile, thousands of hectares of blue gums keep growing, awaiting harvest. Just who will maintain the trees and harvest the timber is unclear.

Posted in Abetz, Blogroll, buffer, Christine Milne, environment, Global initiative on Forests and Climate, Great Southern, Howard, Indigenous, Landclearing, Northern Territory, Rudd, Tiwi Islands, Tiwi Red, Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Acacia Mangium – Weed ? … tiwi may 2009

Posted by tiwiccbb on May 12, 2009



Potential weed grown in NT plantations

Posted Tue May 5, 2009 11:05am AEST

The Northern Territory Government has confirmed it is investigating a plant being grown on plantations on the Tiwi Islands as a high risk weed.

The forestry company Great Southern is growing the plant, Acacia Mangium, on 29,000 hectares of land on Melville Island to export as woodchips to countries in the Asia Pacific region.
The Environment Department’s Diana Leader says acacia is being examined as a potential weed because of its prolific seed production, rapid growth and strong competitive ability against other plants.
“It’s become a potential weed in the tropical environment because of its rapid and extremely vigorous growth in the right places,” Ms Leader said.
“It has prolific seed production and it can tolerate very acidic soils and low nutrient status soils and has a strong competitive ability and relative freedom from natural pests and diseases.”
But she says it will be another 12 months before a weed status on acacia is finalised.
“We do firstly an assessment of its weediness and then a look at the feasibility of controlling it and when we get the results from that, as to whether they come out having a high risk, then we look at cost-benefit analysis to see whether or not it would be able to be managed.”

Below is a link to one article concerned about the invasiveness of acacia mangium when it escapes.
“…This species has been cultivated in various
places as a forestry tree and has escaped from plantings (PIER 2003). With a history of weediness elsewhere and limited distribution on Maui, this species is a good candidate for eradication and control.
“…Invasiveness: According to PIER (2003), Acacia mangium can become naturalized where planted and is known to spread on Saipan, Pohnpei, Yap, Sabah, Africa, Melville Island, and northern Australia.”


On Tue, May 13, 2008 at 11:18 AM
, Benedicto Q. Sánchez wrote:

Hi, all,

I’m sure you’ll find this article interesting. As we know, wild. uncultivated (and sometimes introduced but invasive) crops in agroforestry areas are also considered NTFPs.

Others proved to be beneficial, but some evolved to be a pest. How can we differentiate?

Regards and all the best,

Benedicto Q. Sánchez
Program Coordinator
BIND Dr 1 Adela Arcade, Don Vicente Bldg.,
Locsin St., Bacolod City 6100,
Negros Occidental, Philippines
Telefax 6334) 433 8315
Telephone: (6334) 432 1510
E-mail: bindbcd@…, bqsanch@…
URL: http://www.bindnegros.org

Unless we properly manage resources like forests, water, land, minerals and oils, we will not win the fight against poverty. And there will not be peace. —Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace Prize Award 2004

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: The Overstory
Date: Tue, May 13, 2008 at 9:41 AM
Subject: The Overstory #206–Underutilised crops and invasive species
To: Benedicto Sánchez

Publication date: May 12, 2008

The Overstory #206–Underutilised crops and invasive species
By Nick Pasiecznik and Hannah Jaenicke


New schedule: The Overstory E-Journal will be published monthly rather
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The Overstory #206–Underutilised crops and invasive species
By Nick Pasiecznik and Hannah Jaenicke


: –> Paradoxical impacts of plant introductions
: –> What plants are both crops and invasive?
: –> Who takes the blame if an introduction goes wrong?
: –> Balanced information provision
: –> Weed risk assessments
: –> Monitoring and surveillance
: –> Predefined control and management strategies



Underutilised crops have the potential to provide great social and
nutritional benefits to the rural poor as well as the global community
at large, and it is increasingly recommended that they are identified,
researched and promoted in much the same ways and levels of resourcing,
as the world’s main staple food plants. Underutilised crops are defined
as “species with under-exploited potential for contributing to food
security, health (nutritional/medicinal), income generation, and
environmental services” (Jaenicke and Höschle-Zeledon, 2006). Whilst
many underutilised species are traditional and local crops, in certain
circumstances new introductions from elsewhere will also be considered,
for example to increase the useful biodiversity of agro-ecosystems
(Dawson et al., 2007). Thus, it is important to consider all possible
steps to ensure that striving to achieve this goal does not,
accidentally, have the reverse effect. This paper presents past errors
and the current and future dangers of introducing exotic crops to new
areas, describes existing procedures that will reduce the risks, and
suggests a set of recommendations for professionals working with
underutilised crops.


–> Paradoxical impacts of plant introductions

The introduction of harmful species, including a range of plant pests,
both accidentally and intentionally has caused great concern. ‘Pests’ is
used here in its broadest sense, as defined by the International Plant
Protection Council of the FAO, as “Any species, strain or biotype of
plant, animal or pathogenic agent injurious to plants or plant products”
(IPPC, 2007). A large number of these species have caused such
significant negative environmental and/or economic impacts that they are
now collectively called ‘alien invasive species’. Alien invasive
species, independent of which of the myriad of definitions are used
(e.g. Richardson et al., 2000; McNealy et al., 2001; CBD, 2002; Colautti
and MasIsaac, 2004), have been widely described as the second greatest
threat to biodiversity after habitat loss (e.g. IUCN, 2001). A suitable
working definition for invasive species (not necessarily ‘alien’) used
here, is, “organisms that cause, or have the potential to cause, harm to
the environment, economies, or human health” (Pasiecznik, 2007).

The reasons for the introduction of new plants and the pathways they may
take to get from A to B are varied indeed, and this can either be
accidental or intentional, with crops obviously the latter (Pasiecznik,
2004). A number of well-know invasive plants have been accidentally
introduced into many countries of the world, including many now common
agricultural weeds. Some are also fodder species that also fall in the
invasive/resource category. Most recorded invasive plants were
intentionally introduced, however, for ornamental and landscaping
reasons, though the horticultural industry is increasingly aware of the
risks posed and steps are being taken to reduce potential negative
impacts (e.g. Anon., 2001) as the costs of controlling any future
invasive plants is likely to be greater than the economic benefits
accrued from sales (Barbier and Knowler, 2006). Related to this are
plants introduced for their environmental services, such as for hedges,
windbreaks, erosion control, etc., and many others introduced
principally for fuel, whether firewood as in the past, or for biofuels
at present.

–> What plants are both crops and invasive?

A number of crops, even globally important ones, are also noted as
invasive species somewhere in the world (Table 1), for example the
tomato (Solanum esculentum), recorded as invasive on the Galapagos
islands, and okra (Abelmoschus esculentus), invasive in parts of the
USA. These widely grown and globally important plants may provide useful
lessons for new introductions of underutilised crops. There are also a
number of species that have proved to be invasive to some, but a boon to
others – plants that that do not clearly fall into either the “crop” or
“invasive” categories, or in reality, fall into them both at the same
time. However, very few studies have been conducted on such plants, and
their potential costs and benefits to local communities.

One such study looked at prickly pear cactus (Opuntia ficus-indica) and
black wattle (Acacia mearnsii) in South Africa, both of which have
endured substantial and costly eradication programmes, but local
communities both desired a greater area under each, as they gained a
substantial proportion of their income from them (Shackleton et al.,
2007). Several others have analysed Prosopis juliflora in Kenya, but
results are inconclusive, with Choge et al. (2002) noting community
benefits at the time of surveying, but that the balance was likely to
shift towards a need for control in later years as infestations spread.
Nonetheless, it appears that these studies prove the paradox – what is
invasive to one person, may be a source of livelihood to another.
However, on a personal and daily basis, the case may be even more
integral than this, i.e. that the positive and negative effects may
impact on the same person at the same time.

–> Who takes the blame if an introduction goes wrong?

Many crops are being promoted for further introduction that have been
recorded as invasive (Table 1), thus care should be taken. However,
there are currently no standard procedures for allocating blame for the
introduction of plants that eventually become invasive, in any more than
a subjective and non-legally-binding way. Therefore, there has been
little to motivate those involved in plant introductions to take extra
care. However, things are now changing and it would be wise for those
involved to take note, as following a number of high profile and high
cost cases involving invasive species, there are increasing calls for
measures that follow the “polluter pays” principle. There are advances
related to ornamental species, with for example Barbier and Knowler
(2006) using a model to compare opposing economic values using purple
loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) in the USA and concluding that there was
a need for a “introducers pay” tax to put limits on the uncontrolled
spread in the trade in invasive ornamental species, and spread of the
species themselves.

Related to this, the Australian government has for some time adopted a
‘white list’ approach, whereby species can only be introduced if they
are on a list of approved plants that have passed a weed risk
assessment, as opposed to the standard ‘black list’ approach that means
that any plant species can be introduced with the exception of those
that have been identified as posing an unacceptable level of risk.
However, the ‘white list’ concept has been challenged under the World
Trade Organisation as an approach that is against the principles of free
trade; the Australian government argues that it is valid as it is based
on sound, scientific principles.

A recent example of attempts at firmly placing the blame on those who
introduced an invasive plant, albeit for good intentions, is the case of
Prosopis juliflora in Kenya. Planted widely in the 1980s as a fuel and
fodder tree, it was noted as invading a decade later though no steps
were made to counter this, and in 2004, the National Museums of Kenya
brought a court case on behalf of the Il Chamus community of Baringo
District, who claimed that their livelihoods had been seriously
compromised by the introduction of this tree. It was made initially
against the FAO for funding the initial planting, but FAO claimed
immunity from prosecution as a UN organisation. The case then continued
against the government of Kenya, the Il Chamus demanding wholesale
eradication and/or being allocated new land to settle on. In December
2007, Kenya’s high court ruled in favour of the community, their lawyer
noting that “the court has decided that the environmental well-being of
people is the same as human rights” (Reuters, 2007). The settlement is
yet to be decided, but this has potential ramifications for other
governments and organisations, involved in the international movement of
plant species.

Thus, government departments, and national and international public and
private organisations involved in the introduction of new plants might
do well to agree upon a set of necessary steps to take before and after
plant introduction, as otherwise they may be liable to pay for any
negative impacts that might result. In an increasingly litigatious
global culture, the fear of a multi-million dollar court ruling may have
a greater impact than any voluntary code or demand for ethical choices
from concerned professionals.

–> Balanced information provision

Professionals involved in promoting underutilised crops must accept and
acknowledge honestly any records that indicate the potential of these
species to become invasive. The stakes are too high to allow personal
pride and professional stature to cloud good judgement, and we must be
open, be it with our ‘pet’, specialist species, or any group of species
that we are working with. There is an increasing range of web-based
information sources that can now be used to assess actual and potential
invasiveness of any plant species. For example, the Forestry Compendium
(CABI, 2005), places an exclamation mark inside a warning triangle for
those species where a risk is noted (though not restricted to
invasiveness), and then takes the reader to a text section describing
what risks exist. CABI is also developing an Invasive Species
Compendium, due for completion in 2008-9. A brief selection of existing
databases on invasive plants is given in Table 2.

–> Weed risk assessments

Assessing the risks associated with the introduction of a new organism
to an area is a procedure that originated with national plant quarantine
services over a century ago. Pest Risk Analysis (PRA) was developed to
provide an answer to the question of “what to do?”, leading to a
quantitative result from qualitative data, and allowing the organisation
to make a management decision. This principle has been developed after
many decades of work, lead by plant protection organisations, national,
regional and international, which culminated in an international
standard on how to set up such a process by the International Plant
Protection Council. This has since been revised to incorporate both
risks to the environment, and risks posed by living modified organisms
(LMOs), and is otherwise known as ISPM No.11 (IPPC, 2004). Using this
concept as a basis, other countries have developed their own PRAs
specifically for plants, called ‘weed risk assessments’ (WRAs). By far
the most advanced are those established in Australia, based on sound
scientific principles (e.g. Panetta, 1993), and culminating in a system
adopted at a national level (Pheloung, 1995). This has since been
adopted and slightly adapted for use in Hawaii and other high islands of
the Pacific (PIER, 2007), and PIER have hundreds of completed WRAs
freely available to the public via their website (Table 2) that provides
a valuable indication of the potential invasiveness of the species
concerned. Other systems based on different criteria have been drawn up,
for example in the USA and South Africa, but none seems to be as simple
but accurate as the Australian/Pacific system.

–> Monitoring and surveillance

A final but important problem lies in how to classify, and what to do
with, “sleeper weeds”. The term is being increasingly used, especially
in Australia (Grice and Ainsworth, 2003; Groves, 2006), to describe
plants naturalised in an area but not (yet) invasive, that have proved
invasive elsewhere. Thus, an introduced crop or plant in any given area
may become invasive at some point in the future, depending on changes to
the local ecology, environment, land-use, or any other of a range of
possible ‘triggers’. Examples include the spread of dryland legumes
after overgrazing and/or drought, exotic fig trees (Ficus spp.) in
Australia following the introduction of a bird that very effectively
spread its seeds, or the introduction of exotic earthworms into Hawaii
that provided valuable forage for (previously introduced) wild pigs that
caused extensive ground disturbance which in turn facilitated the spread
of the fire tree (Myrica faya). Also, a USDA-funded study of potential
risks of invasion from exotic plants in the USA concluded that most of
the potential alien invasive plants of the future were likely to have
been already introduced, making monitoring and surveillance more
important than any preventative measures at the country’s borders (C.
Parker, Consultant, pers. comm.). Work in many parts of the world has
indicated that effective monitoring is practically and financially
impossible if left to governmental or other agencies alone, and should
involve the general public as much as possible. Thus, successful
monitoring depends in a large part on good extension and education, with
for example, ‘Wanted’ posters illustrating colour pictures of the plant
in question, telephone numbers of who to contact in case such a plant is
seen growing wild, radio programmes, and other adaptations of
agricultural extension practices that have proven effective in the past.

–> Predefined control and management strategies

Some countries such as Australia and South Africa are very aware of the
risks posed by invasive plants, and have in a number of cases
established protocols on what to do if a species begins to spread,
dividing responsibilities accordingly, thus greatly reducing the time
needed to act in such an event. These take time to develop and to
formally agree who will do what in such scenarios – but if not already
in place, valuable time will be lost in dealing with an invasion in its
initial stages when eradication, control or damage limitation is much
more likely to be successful, and less costly. This is integrally linked
to monitoring and surveillance activities, but also to possibly
pre-existing “containment” strategies that may have been developed to
control plant pest outbreaks. The national and regional plant protection
organisations should thus be contacted in the first instance. Control by
utilisation may also prove to be a useful approach even after escape. In
Kenya, means to control the further spread of Prosopis have attempted to
put an economic value on the seed, thus motivating people to collect and
destroy the pods and thus check further spread (Choge et al., this
conference). It is considered that this may be the most cost effective
means of control, and, in doing so, also achieves the parallel aims of
improving rural livelihoods by putting cash incomes directly into
farmers’ pockets.


It is clear that well-meaning plant introductions have been made in the
past, and continue to be made, which through inadequate research and
information, have sometimes had the reverse effect to that intended. In
the cases reported, exotic species meant to provide natural resources to
support and improve rural livelihoods have actually made people and
their environments poorer, and most of those responsible have walked
away leaving the recipients of such “rural development” to deal with the
problems caused as best they can.

Those of us involved in promoting further plant introductions and
managing existing invasions therefore have a responsibility to make more
long-term commitments to those people whom we are supposed to be
helping. Ensuring that what we promote will not become a disaster in the
future, “staying the course” and dealing with any unpredicted invasions
at a later date, and sharing the information at our disposal with others
working in related fields are the basic minimum requirements we should
all agree to. This should become the basis for a global holistic
strategy regarding underutilised crops and invasive species.

New plant introductions will continue to happen in the future, with good
reasons and intentions. The challenge we face is to ensure that risks of
negative ecological and economical impacts following such introductions
are minimized.


1. All documentation promoting underutilised crops must include
information on whether and where the plant is recorded as being
invasive, derived from searches of the many databases and associated
literature. Clear warnings should be attached to those that have already
proved invasive anywhere in the world.

2. Weed risk analyses/assessments, based on existing models, should
be conducted on potentially invasive species prior to introduction to a
new area. Species that fail should not be introduced at any cost, and
results should be widely publicised ensuring others do not make the same

3. Underutilised crops in an area, that have proven invasive
elsewhere, should be monitored for possible escape from cultivation,
naturalisation and spread to new areas or habitats within that area.
Control and management strategies should also be agreed with the
necessary authorities in the event of future invasion.

4. Those involved in developing and promoting underutilised crops
need to provide information on their uses and management to others
involved in their control and management as invasive species.

5. A system and protocol needs to be developed for the open exchange
of information between people working on species that are both
underutilised crops and invasive species. This must aim to improve the
management of existing plant invasions and prevent further ill-conceived


TABLE 1. An example of 50 species commonly considered as underutilised
crops that are recorded as invasive in at least one country or region of
the world.

Abelmoschus esculenta
Acacia karroo
Acacia mangium
Acacia mearnsii
Amaranthus retroflexus
Amaranthus spinosis
Atriplex halimus
Azadirachta indica
Berberis vulgaris
Bidens pilosa
Brassica juncea
Brassica napus
Brassica oleracea
Chenopodium album
Chromolaena odorata
Cichorium intybus
Colocasia esculenta
Crataegus monogyna
Eleagnus angustifolia
Eugenia uniflora
Gliricidia sepium
Hippophae rhamnoides
Imperata cylindrica
Ipomea aquatica
Jatropha curcas
Kigelia africana
Leucaena leucocephala
Moringa oleifera
Opuntia ficus-indica
Oxalis tuberosa
Panicum repens
Panicum sumatrense
Parthenium argentatum
Paspalum scrobiculatum
Passiflora foetida
Passiflora mollissima
Pastinaca sativa
Pithecellobium dulce
Portulaca oleracea
Prunus serotina
Psidium cattleianum
Psidium guajava
Ricinus communis
Salsola vermiculata
Solanum nigrum
Spathodea campanulata
Stipa tenacissima
Syzygium cumini
Terminalia catappa
Ziziphus mauritiana

TABLE 2. A sample of five databases containing information and
datasheets on invasive plants, as an indicator of the type and volume of
information available. There are several hundred more searchable
databases, most specific to countries, regions or organism types.

Global Compendium of Weeds (GCW).
Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk (HEAR), Honolulu, Hawaii, USA.

The largest single database of weeds, including over 28,000 species. A
useful starting point for searches, being an updated version of a 900
page book by Rod Randall (2002).

Global Invasive Species Database (GISD). Invasive Species Specialist
Group (ISSG), Auckland, New Zealand.
Detailed information on approximately 150 invasive plants including
control and location specific data. Part of a larger database containing
470 invasive species of all organism types.

Crop Protection Compendium (CPC).
CAB International (CABI), Wallingford, Oxfordshire, UK.

A fully searchable database including almost 500 weeds and invasive
plants, along with over 2000 other plant pests. A specific Invasive
Species Compendium is currently being developed.

Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER). Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk
(HEAR), Honolulu, Hawaii, USA.
Information on a large number of plants which are present on Pacific
islands or Pacific rim countries. A good example of regularly updated
region-specific data that has wider value.

Invasive and Exotic Species (invasive.org).
A joint project by the Bugwood Network, USDA-FS and USDA-APHIS-PPQ, USA.

Information on 630 ‘invasive and exotic weeds’, part of a larger
database including 1000 invasive species of all organism types,
concentrating on those affecting North America.


Anon., 2001. Linking ecology and horticulture to prevent plant
invasions. Selections from the proceedings of the workshop at the
Missouri Botanical Gardens, December 2001. Missouri Botanical Gardens,
St Louis, Missouri, USA.

Barbier, E. and Knowler, D. 2006. Commercialization decisions and the
economics of introduction. Euphytica, 148(1/2):151-164.

CABI, 2005. The Forestry Compendium. CAB International, Wallingford, UK.

Choge, S.K., Ngujiri, F.D., Kuria, M.N., Busaka, E.A. and Muthondeki,
J.K. 2002. The status and impact of Prosopis spp in Kenya. Nairobi,
Kenya: Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI). 59p.

CBD, 2002. Review and consideration of options for the implementation of
article 8(h) on alien species that threaten ecosystems, habitats or
species. Addendum: use of terms. Conference of the parties to the
Convention on Biological Diversity, Sixth meeting, 7-19 April 2002.
UNEP/CBD/COP/6/18/Add.1. The Hague, the Netherlands. 5p.

Colautti, R.I. and MasIsaac, H.J. 2004. A neutral terminology to define
‘invasive’ species. Diversity and Distribution, 10:135-141.

Dawson, I.K., Guarino, L. and Jaenicke, H. 2007. Underutilised plant
species: impact of promotion on biodiversity. ICUC Position Paper No. 2.
International Centre for Underutilised Crops (ICUC), Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Grice, A.C. and Ainsworth, N. 2003. Sleeper weeds – a useful concept?
Plant Protection Quarterly, 18(1):35-39.

Groves, R.H. 2006. Are some weeds sleeping? Some concepts and reasons.
Euphytica, 148(1-2):111-120.

IPPC, 2004. Pest risk analysis for quarantine pests including analysis
of environmental risks and living modified organisms. ISPM No. 11. FAO,
Rome, Italy: International Plant Protection Convention. 26p.

IPPC, 2007. Glossary of Phytosanitary Terms. ISPM No. 5. FAO, Rome,
Italy: International Plant Protection Convention. 23p.

IUCN, 2001. IUCN guidelines for the prevention of biodiversity loss
caused by alien invasive species. Prepared by the SSC Invasive Species
Specialist Group, approved by the 51st Meeting of the IUCN Council,
February 2000. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.

Jaenicke, H. and Höschle-Zeledon, I., eds., 2006. Strategic framework
for research and development of underutilized plant species with special
reference to Asia, the Pacific and Sub-Saharan Africa. International
Centre for Underutilised Crops (ICUC), Colombo, Sri Lanka and Global
Facilitation Unit for Underutilized Species (GFU), Rome, Italy. 33p.

McNeely, J.A., Mooney, H.A., Neville, L.E., Schei, P.J. and Waage, J.K.,
eds, 2001. Global Strategy on Invasive Alien Species. IUCN, Gland,

Panetta, E. 1993. A system for assessing proposed plant introductions
for weed potential. Plant Protection Quarterly, 8:10-14.

Pasiecznik, N.M. 2004. Pathways for plant introduction. Invasive plant
overview, invited paper. In: CABI, Crop Protection Compendium. CAB
International, Wallingford, UK.

Pasiecznik, N.M. 2007. Definition and scope of ‘invasive species’ and
practical applications for the development of an Invasive Species
Compendium. Appendix 2. In: CABI: Report of the annual CABI Compendium
workshop and the Invasive Species Compendium initiation workshop. USDA,
Washington DC, 15-17 November 2006. CABI, Wallingford, UK, 30-32.

Pheloung, P.C. 1995. Determining the weed potential of new plant
introductions to Australia. A report on the development of a Weed Risk
Assessment System commissioned by the Australian Weeds Committee and the
Plant Industries Committee. Agriculture Protection Board, Western
Australia, Australia.

PIER, 2007. Information of risk assessments. Pacific Island Ecosystems
at Risk, Hawaii, USA. http://www.hear.org/pier/wra/wralinks.htm

Reuters, 2007. Kenya to compensate locals for planting shrub. Planet
Ark, December 13, 2007.

Richardson, D.M., Py_ek, P., Rejmánek, M., Barbour, M.G., Panetta, D.F.
and West, C.J. 2000. Naturalization and invasion of alien plants –
concepts and definitions. Diversity and Distributions, 6:93-107.

Shackleton, C.M., McGarry, D., Fourie, S., Gambiza, J., Shackleton,
S.E.and Fabricius, C. 2007. Assessing the effects of invasive alien
species on rural livelihoods: case examples and a framework from South
Africa. Human Ecology, 35:113-127.


This article was excerpted with the kind permission of the authors and
publisher from:

Pasiecznik, N.M., and Jaenicke, H. 2008. Underutilised crops and
invasive species ­ understanding the links. Paper presented at the
International Symposium “Underutilized plants for food, nutrition,
income and sustainable development”, Arusha, Tanzania, 3-7 March 2008.
(c) International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS)


Nick Pasiecznik is managing consultant for Agroforestry Enterprises,
specialising in research, development and training in agroforestry,
drylands, timber processing, and is a leading expert on Prosopis
species. Other interests and experience include forestry, agriculture
and land-use systems, organic production, invasive species and plant
taxonomy. He can be contacted at: Agroforestry Enterprises, Villebeuf,
71550 Cussy-en-Morvan, France; E-mail: ;
Tel: +33 (0)3 85546826.

Hannah Jaenicke has been Director of the International Centre for
Underutlised Crops (ICUC) since October 2005. She has a MSc in plant
breeding and a PhD in plant physiology. She developed her career in
international development and plant propagation at the World
Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) in Nairobi 1992 – 2001, after which she
became Deputy Manager of the Forestry Research Programme of the UK
Department for International Development. In that position, Hannah was
closely involved in the day-to-day management of a large number of
diverse and interdisciplinary research projects worldwide as well as
strategy development. She was also instrumental in the development of a
training course on science communication and advocacy. Hannah can be
reached at: International Centre for Underutilised Crops (ICUC), PO Box
2075, Colombo, Sri Lanka; E-mail: .


(extracted from Table 2 above)

Global Compendium of Weeds (GCW).
Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk (HEAR), Honolulu, Hawaii, USA.

The largest single database of weeds, including over 28,000 species. A
useful starting point for searches, being an updated version of a 900
page book by Rod Randall (2002).

Global Invasive Species Database (GISD). Invasive Species Specialist
Group (ISSG), Auckland, New Zealand.
Detailed information on approximately 150 invasive plants including
control and location specific data. Part of a larger database containing
470 invasive species of all organism types.

Crop Protection Compendium (CPC).
CAB International (CABI), Wallingford, Oxfordshire, UK.

A fully searchable database including almost 500 weeds and invasive
plants, along with over 2000 other plant pests. A specific Invasive
Species Compendium is currently being developed.

Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER). Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk
(HEAR), Honolulu, Hawaii, USA.
Information on a large number of plants which are present on Pacific
islands or Pacific rim countries. A good example of regularly updated
region-specific data that has wider value.

Invasive and Exotic Species (invasive.org).
A joint project by the Bugwood Network, USDA-FS and USDA-APHIS-PPQ, USA.

Information on 630 ‘invasive and exotic weeds’, part of a larger
database including 1000 invasive species of all organism types,
concentrating on those affecting North America.
Publisher: Permanent Agriculture Resources
Editor: Craig R. Elevitch

The Overstory is distributed by Agroforestry Net, Inc., a nonprofit
501(c)(3) organization based in Hawaii.
Address: P.O. Box 428, Holualoa, Hawaii 96725 USA
Email: overstory@… ; Web site:

Past editions of The Overstory: http://www.overstory.org

Any other information about yourself that you would like to
include is welcome, as it helps us tailor the journal to
your needs.

Aloisa Zamora-Santos
Non-Timber Forest Products Exchange Programme for South and Southeast Asia
92-A Masikap Extension, Barangay Central, Diliman, Quezon City 1100 The Philippines
Telephone: +63 2 9204201
Telefax: +63 2 4262757

Posted in buffer, Christine Milne, environment, Global initiative on Forests and Climate, Great Southern, Howard, Indigenous, Landclearing, Northern Territory, Rudd, Tiwi Islands, Tiwi Red, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Great Southern remains in trading halt 11 May 2009

Posted by tiwiccbb on May 11, 2009


Great Southern remains in trading halt

A timber company operating on the Tiwi Islands in the Northern Territory has been given more time to publicise its financial details.

Great Southern operates a timber plantation on Melville Island.

In an announcement to the stock exchange this morning, the company has asked to be suspended from being listed and quoted.

Last week the timber company was placed in a trading halt and was given until today to release details about its finances.

The company has been granted an extension and is expected to outline its managed investment schemes and working capital by next Monday.

Great Southern says it is business as usual and there are no job cuts planned at this stage.

It says the company wants to provide as much certainty as possible and will make an announcement some time this week.

Posted in buffer, Christine Milne, environment, Global initiative on Forests and Climate, Great Southern, Indigenous, Landclearing, Northern Territory, Rudd, Tiwi Islands, Tiwi Red | 4 Comments »

Hearings Dates & Locations in NT Announced

Posted by tiwiccbb on May 8, 2009

Posted in Abetz, Blogroll, buffer, Christine Milne, environment, Global initiative on Forests and Climate, Great Southern, Indigenous, Landclearing, Northern Territory, Rudd, Tiwi Islands, Tiwi Red, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »