February 2004. Two questions were asked a) literature on weeds in Papua New Guinea and b) identifying weeds of Papua New Guinea that might be processed into marketable products. This intiguing proposition elicited some disucssion.
References to weeds:
- The only publication available is Weeds of New Guinea and their control Henty, EE and GH Pritchard (1988, 4th Ed). Botany Bulletin No.7, Department of Forests, Lae. PNG. But much of it is from the 1960s and is limited.
- The Northern Australian Quarantine Strategy (NAQS) of AQIS may have updated weed lists, but these are restricted to weeds present along the PNG-Indonesian Border.
- The PNG National Agricultural Research Insitute is planning a major national weed survey and only after this will a comprehensive weed list become available.
- Publication on weeds of coffee. Coffee Research Institute staff should have the details.
Is it a good idea to promote economic use of weeds?
If so, this may creates an economic incentive to NOT eliminate weeds, and delivers the “wrong message” to people regarding their (weeds) place in the environment. If economic “uses” of weeds are promoted, what possible incentive is there for people to NOT INTENTIONALLY INtrODUCE species that will inevitably become future weeds?
However, there was another view: If the weeds are already present, finding either a subsistence or commercial use for them seems reasonable. It should, however, be couched in the understanding that this is an opportunistic use of resources. This is not to say that adopting a use for a weedy plants lacks risk. The inherent understanding is that, we’ll use it while we have got it, and if we lose it, so much the better.