The place to study litter decomposition

Submitted by editor on 7 March 2017.Get the paper!

This paper is based on field work mostly done in the Ohu Village. This is a village in Papua New Guinea that runs its own small rainforest conservation area of approximately 300 ha. The surrounding lands have been largely converted to food gardens or are covered by secondary forests on fallow lands after gardening. People in Ohu grow almost all food they need themselves, sell surplus at a market in nearby Madang town and also grow cash crops, such as cocoa. This leads to increasing pressure on land, but despite this pressure the conservation area is off limits for tree felling. It is a small island of nice forest, where you can still see birds of paradise. It is open for tourists as well as researchers; their visits are bringing some income and employment to the village. There are now over 30 ecological research papers published from Ohu forest, making it one of the best known biologically in the region. One of the authors of this paper, Kenneth Molem, comes from Ohu village. He is a botanist who started his career by learning detailed tree taxonomy developed in the local Amele language (with approximately 6,000 speakers), later transposing it to the classical taxonomy. Our study was not a particularly fast paced, considering that we finished field work in 2000 and published in 2017. However, it is heartening to see that the Ohu forest remains in good condition after these 17 years.

Piotr Szefer


Photo1 -  Representative of international conservation community (we think that it was WWF) dances during the singsing celebrating the conservation area.

Photo2 -  To celebrate and promote their conservation area, the Ohu village held a traditional celebration, called “singsing”, where people dressed in traditional costumes danced and sang traditional songs, accompanied by their kundu drums.  (Picture from the year 2002).

Photo3 - Kenneth Molem (co-author) in from of the poster for Ohu Conservation.

Photo4 - Food garden at the edge of the Ohu Conservation Area.

Photo5 - Ohu village lads with their toy cars.