Species Profiles for Pacific Island Agroforestry

Final Report for EW02-001

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2002: $94,971.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2005
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $41,568.00
Region: Western
State: Hawaii
Principal Investigator:
Craig Elevitch
Permanent Agriculture Resources
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Project Information


This project meets the needs of extension agents, producers, and land users by creating a concise, practical, user-friendly information resource for traditional Pacific island tree species. The project produced a series of 10–32 page fact sheets for 73 of the most important agroforestry species in the region. Each fact sheet provides information on products, uses, interplanting applications, environmental requirements, propagation methods, and cultivation techniques.

Project Objectives:

To strengthen NRCS and CES agent understanding of and proficiency in Pacific island tree species and their products and uses;

To meet the defined needs of NRCS, extension, and other agricultural professionals by creating concise, practical, user-friendly species profiles (8–16 page fact sheets) for fifty outstanding Pacific island agroforestry species;

To produce selection tables of the fifty species sorted by associated crops, agroforestry uses/products (i.e., windbreak, timber, fruit), and five climatic zones;

To distribute a searchable CD with live internet links and a reproducible, bound and printed set of the species profiles and selection tables to fifty NRCS, CES, and other agricultural organizations in the American-affiliated Pacific islands;

To publish the species profiles on the internet (www.agroforestry.net) for viewing in HTML (using a web browser) and downloading in PDF format (for reading with the free Acrobat Reader) for at least a three-year period;

To assess the effectiveness and benefits of above objectives by conducting a follow-up survey of recipients three months after distribution of the completed species profiles.


Agroforestry is a vital aspect of sustainable agriculture in the tropics, and producers increasingly seek tree species for use in crop diversification, windbreaks, coastal protection, shade, soil improvement, water conservation, livestock fodder, woodlots, and other applications. Integrating trees can diversify products and enhance the economic and ecological viability of farm systems.

There are many native and traditional tree species that are time-tested, locally available, and highly effective for agroforestry in the Pacific. However, there is a shortage of information about these traditional and native species. As traditional agroforestry systems were cut down and replaced with plantation and cash crops from colonial times on, much of the understanding of local tree species and their many applications has fallen by the wayside. Much of the information now available to agricultural professionals neglects local species, focusing instead on a species exotic to the Pacific islands. Many of these newer exotics are often untested in the region, unfamiliar to local growers, and difficult to acquire. Emphasizing exotics also poses serious threats to Pacific Island ecosystems through the introduction of potentially invasive plants.

Species Profiles for Pacific Island Agroforestry produced a series of profiles covering 73 of the most important and underutilized species in the region. Each species profile provides detailed, practical information on the uses, products, interplanting applications, environmental requirements, and propagation methods for each species. A group of over 30 leading authorities in traditional and native Pacific Island species authored the species profiles. In addition, a panel of over sixty academics, producers, and other professionals have reviewed the species profiles manuscripts prior to publication.


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  • Kim Wilkinson

Education & Outreach Initiatives



The project started with selection of the species to be covered by the project. A candidate list of 150 species was first drawn up by the project coordinator with the advice of two Pacific island agroforestry experts. The project coordinator then conducted a survey of prospective authors, reviewers, and other experts in agroforestry, native, and invasive species as a basis for selecting the 50 priority species from the candidate list to be profiled. Once the 50 species were selected, prospective authors selected species that they would like to author, and authorship assignments were made.

Authors were then given an extensive species data form (template) to complete for each species, which served as the basis for each profile. The project coordinator reformatted the form data and added photographs, which served as the manuscript for the review process. The authors were then given an opportunity to make final revisions before sending the manuscript out for review. Each manuscript was then sent to at least two experts for review. The authors and project coordinator addressed reviewer comments after which time the manuscript was sent for additional review if necessary. Once the review process was complete, the manuscript was reformatted for publication by the project coordinator. Authors then had a final opportunity to revise the completed manuscript, after which time it was published to the project web site at http://www.traditionaltree.org. In certain cases, manuscripts were revised after publication as new information became available.

Outreach and Publications

A total of 40 species profiles covering 73 species (724 pages in sum) were published to the project web site http://www.traditionaltree.org. A list of the species covered is below.

CDs containing the species profiles were distributed to 140 NRCS, Cooperative Extension, State forestry, and numerous other offices throughout the Pacific islands.

Species profiles published to http://www.traditionaltree.org:

Acacia koa (and A. koaia)
Aleurites moluccana
Alphitonia zizyphoides
Artocarpus altilis
Artocarpus camansi
Artocarpus mariannensis
Barringtonia procera
Broussonetia papyrifera
Bruguiera gymnorrhiza
Calophyllum inophyllum
Cananga odorata
Canarium indicum (and Canarium harveyi)
Casuarina equisetifolia (and Casuarina cunninghamiana)
Citrus spp. (C. aurantifolia, C. aurantium, C. grandis, C. hystrix, C. limon, C. macroptera, C. medica, C. mitis, C. paradisi, C. reticulata, C. sinensis)
Cocos nucifera
Cordia subcordata
Endospermum medullosum
Erythrina variegata
Fagraea berteroana
Flueggea flexuosa
Gliricidia sepium
Inocarpus fagifer
Intsia bijuga
Mangifera indica
Metroxylon spp. (M. paulcoxii, M. sagu, M. salomonense, M. vitiense, M. warburgii)
Metrosideros polymorpha
Morinda citrifolia
Musa species
Pometia pinnata
Pterocarpus indicus
Rhizophora mangle (and R. samoensis, R. racemosa, R. x harrisonii)
Rhizophora apiculata (and R. mucronata, R. stylosa, R. x annamalai, R. x lamarckii)
Samanea saman
Santalum yasi (and S. austrocaledonicum)
Santalum ellipticum (and S. freycinetianum, S. haleakalae, S. paniculatum)
Syzygium malaccense
Terminalia catappa
Terminalia richii
Thespesia populnea
Tournefortia argentea

Outcomes and impacts:

There are many questions that Pacific island farmers, ranchers, landscapers, and landholders must have answered in order to bring native and traditional tree species back into active use. The Species Profiles are unprecedented in the practical, user-friendly, and readily accessible information they provide for extension agents to answer this need.

Web stats from http://www.traditionaltree.org
Jan. 1, 2005–Dec. 31, 2005: 261,906 total hits on species profiles by 33,519 unique visitors.
July 1, 2005–Dec. 31, 2005: 162,655 total hits on species profiles by 21,543 unique visitors.
Dec. 1, 2005–Dec. 31, 2005: 27,841 total hits on species profiles by 4,083 unique visitors.

Project Outcomes

Project outcomes:

A total of 40 species profiles covering 73 species (724 pages in sum) are published to the project web site http://www.traditionaltree.org (see species list under “Publications and Outreach”). A total of 727 photos and illustrations are included in the profiles. We have well exceeded the original objective of covering 50 species and including 100 photos and illustrations. Thirty-two authors contributed, along with three editors and three urban forestry advisors (see list under “Participants”). Sixty-seven people have reviewed species profile drafts representing academics, researchers, producers, extension, and NGO’s. We have made arrangements with the USDA Plants Database http://plants.usda.gov/ and AusAID’s South Pacific Regional Initiative On Forest Genetic Resources (SPRIG) to distribute the species profiles on their web sites in parallel with distribution at http://www.traditionaltree.org.


Potential Contributions

A telephone survey of 30 NRCS conservationists, Cooperative extension agents, and other agricultural professionals was undertaken at the completion of the project. This was not a scientific survey, however, it did yield some feedback about the project. Of the 30 respondents, 20 were familiar with at least one species profile and 10 had not heard about the project nor seen any of the species profiles. Upon further questioning, the 10 who had not heard of the project also had little or no interest in agroforestry or clients who requested information about trees. Of the 20 people who were familiar with the species profiles, all were pleased by the quantity and quality of the information provided by this project.

When asked which species profiles had been used, respondents familiar with the project said that they had seen between 1 and 40 profiles, with the most common answer being 2–3.

When asked if their ability to recommend species had changed as a result of the species profiles, respondents familiar with the profiles all said yes, with the exception of one person.

When asked if they had any suggestions for improving the profiles, most respondents familiar with the profiles had no suggestions. Several people said they would like to see more species covered. One person said that even more photos would be an improvement.

Other comments from the survey include:
“The site provides a wealth of information that can be used by government agencies, homeowners, and all interested in agroforestry. I looked up a few species and was surprised how much information was available. The full-color pictures are also great.”—M.W., NRCS Hilo

“I am very impressed with the level of detail you went into and the wide range of uses, not only in Hawaii but across the Pacific. Really nice pictures too. I can see this will be a great resource for folks looking for info on these trees.”—C.W., NRCS Waimea

“I have downloaded and read almost every one, and brought hardcopies to Guam and East Timor. I have recommended the profiles to many clients during the past two years. How many? Probably in the neighborhood of 200. Most of the time people have been happy just to download the profiles at home. Occasionally I have printed out hard copies for them. I am learning more about South Pacific species. I will continue to recommend them to tree farmers and conservationists, and use them in expanding the UH forestry extension program to other Pacific islands.”—J.F., UH Cooperative Extension

“The species profiles have contributed to the background knowledge that informs my choices and recommendations. The profiles are a great resource, especially the way that they take in all of the Pacific.”—P.V., ethonobotanist

“Your website is great. I will keep it bookmarked for reference, and spread the word to others who may be interested. This will be a great source of information for all conservation planners throughout the pacific. I don't have any specific comments on the content, but I certainly would like to use what you've produced for planning. It looks great!”—J.E., NRCS Kealakekua

“The profiles brought back many memories of implementing agroforestry techniques on Guam, Saipan, Rota, Tinian, Pohnpei and AS. The species profiles web site is excellent...”—R.G., NRCS Wailuku

“The species profiles web link contains a wealth of Pacific island agroforestry information in a user-friendly format that can be accessed online, downloaded for instant text and visual referencing of a wide range of species.”—S.S., Big Island RC&D

Future Recommendations

Additional species profiles: Many people have requested additional species be covered including native Hawaiian trees such as lama and kauila, as well as other Pacific island trees such as Bischofia javanica, Eucalyptus deglupta, Araucaria spp., and Agathis spp.

Documentation: More study should be done to document traditional Pacific island integrated, mixed-cropping systems so that they can be better understood by the general public.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.