This research was undertaken by a team of Overseas Development Institute researchers, together with staff from the Papua New Guinea University of Technology, with the intent of informing, and supporting, a national dialogue on forest development. Three research papers were written, exploring the theme of how forestry can provide a sustainable and viable source of income and livelihood for all participants – landowners, loggers, traders and government. The studies were commissioned by the PNG Government and funded through the European Commission.

A history of the forest sector examines the development of the forest sector from Independence (in 1975) to the present. It explores the way the sector has evolved, and identifies a tension between the customary ownership of forests and the State’s view of forests as a national resource.

Legal and institutional framework reviews the current legal and institutional framework governing the administration of the forest sector in Papua New Guinea. From the evidence examined, the review concludes that the main requirements for reform at this stage concern fulfilment by the state of its responsibilities.

Issues and opportunities looks at the economic case for forestry in Papua New Guinea. In broad societal terms the importance of the sector lies in its development potential of bringing incomes, jobs, infrastructure and services to remote rural areas.