Plotsafe and YTGEN course in Fiji

In September 2010 Interpine were contracted to provide the first Plotsafe and YTGEN training course in the Fijian Islands. After some hard-fought arguments, and at times physical confrontations, at the Interpine office, Resource Forester Jonathan Dash emerged as the victor, and packed his bags to take up his assignment in the tropical paradise, leaving the kiwi winter behind.

The training course was provided in association with Fiji National University (FNU) and was held at the College of Agriculture, Fishery Science and Forestry in Nausori, Suva with the warm tropical breeze gently blowing in from the South Pacific. The training course was attended by over twenty foresters from Fiji Hardwood Corporation as well as students from the Tropical Forestry diploma course at FNU. The software products YTGEN and Plotsafe were installed in FNU’s computer lab and licences to use the products for research and education purposes were kindly provided by Silmetra Limited. FNU’s head of forestry Maika Tabukovu is an ex-Interpine staff member and recognised the potential of the Plotsafe and YTGEN products for Fijian forestry whilst working in New Zealand. Mr. Tabukovu is delighted to be able to use the software as an educational tool for his students and is now working closely with Interpine and Fiji Hardwoods to bring the benefits of a commercial application of the products to Fijian forestry.


The South Pacific breeze rustles palm trees at Fiji National University


Fijian Mahogany

The field component of the course was held at the Nukurua forest station, Fiji’s largest plantation of Brazilian mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla). During the field trip Interpine were able to pass on the forest inventory techniques which have become industry standards in New Zealand whilst introducing the Fijian foresters to the rugged field computers and electronic measurement devices which are used by Interpine to speed up and improve forest inventory. Interpine learnt from the experience of the Fijian foresters and were able to develop an overlapping feature cruising dictionary for Fijian Mahogany enabling detailed tree descriptions to be captured and analysed using YTGEN. The growth and form of the highly valuable Mahogany resource is impressive and a rotation length of only 38 years underlines the world class nature of the resource and highlights the importance of forestry in the development of the Fijian economy.


Plotsafe training in a Mahogany stand at Nukurua

The Future

In the past MARVL type inventory procedures have been followed in Fiji but in recent years forest inventory has taken a back seat as the forest industry underwent considerable restructuring. Looking to the future there is the potential to implement an inventory system based around Plotsafe and YTGEN and it is hoped that this visit will serve as a the springboard to embed the use of the software in Fiji. This will provide Fijian forestry with a world class platform to collect and analyse forest inventory data. In summary it was a successful trip to the South Pacific providing the students at FNU with a new tool to enhance their education, exposing Fijian forestry professionals to New Zealand forest inventory technology… and most importantly providing a nice mid-winter sun tan for one lucky Interpine forester.


Course attendees with Interpine’s Resource Forester Jonathan Dash