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Popondetta, Papua New Guinea

Gitau C.W.,Charles Sturt University | Gurr G.M.,Charles Sturt University | Dewhurst C.F.,PNG Oil Palm Research Association | Mitchell A.,College Street | And 3 more authors.
Annals of Applied Biology | Year: 2011

Finschhafen disorder (FD) affects coconut and oil palms in Papua New Guinea (PNG). It is characterised by yellow-bronzing of fronds which begins at the tips and progresses towards the petiole. Although the planthopper Zophiuma lobulata (Hemiptera: Lophopidae) has been posited as a cause of FD, the basis of the relationship has not been established. Studies conducted previously on FD predate the availability of DNA-based techniques to test for the involvement of plant pathogens such as phytoplasmas that cause yellows-type diseases in many plant taxa and are transmitted by the order of insects to which Z. lobulata belongs. In this study, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays found no evidence of phytoplasmas or bacteria-like organisms (BLOs) in tissues of coconut and oil palm symptomatic for FD and from Z. lobulata feeding on these plants. Further studies involved releasing Z. lobulata adults and nymphs onto caged, potted coconut and oil palms and onto palm fronds enclosed in mesh sleeves. In both experiments, chlorotic symptoms on the palms were observed in the presence of Z. lobulata. Insect-free control palms did not exhibit chlorotic symptoms of FD. In the frond sleeve experiment, only the fronds where Z. lobulata fed developed chlorosis indicating that the disorder is not systemic. Unlike most yellows-type diseases associated with Hemiptera, this study indicates that FD is because of a direct feeding effect on palms by Z. lobulata rather than transmission of a pathogen. © 2010 Association of Applied Biologists. Source


Gitau C.W.,Charles Sturt University | Fletcher M.J.,Charles Sturt University | Fletcher M.J.,Orange Agricultural Institute | Mitchell A.,College Street | And 2 more authors.
Australian Journal of Entomology | Year: 2011

An examination of the five described species of the New Guinean genus Zophiuma Fennah (Hemiptera: Fulgoromorpha: Lophopidae), has confirmed that Zophiuma guineae (Lallemand) is a new synonym of Zophiuma pupillata (Stål) and that Zophiuma lobulata Ghauri is a new synonym of Zophiuma butawengi (Heller). The third species of the genus, Zophiuma doreyensis Distant, is known only from the male holotype. The morphology of the male genitalia and mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) gene sequences were used to compare Z. pupillata and Z. butawengi. Both the male genitalia and the COI sequences showed clear cut differences between the two species with little intraspecific variation in comparison to interspecific variation. Sequence data demonstrated that males collected with the distinctively coloured Z. pupillata females are the males of that species. Male genitalia of Z. pupillata are described and illustrated for the first time and a key for the discrimination of the three species of the genus is provided. © 2011 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2011 Australian Entomological Society. Source


Huth N.I.,CSIRO | Banabas M.,PNG Oil Palm Research Association | Nelson P.N.,James Cook University | Webb M.,CSIRO
Environmental Modelling and Software | Year: 2014

Oil palm has become one of the most important crops in the world with questions being raised about its economic and environmental sustainability. Agricultural systems models are regularly employed in studying sustainable crop management but no detailed model is currently available for oil palm systems.We developed a production systems model for oil palm within the Agricultural Production Systems Simulator (APSIM) framework and tested it using data across a range of environments within Papua New Guinea (PNG). The model captured key growth responses to climate and management. This demonstrates that modern modelling frameworks do allow for rapid model development for new agricultural systems.However, whilst application of the model is promising, the availability of key data is likely to restrict its use. Local soil and weather data are not available in adequate detail for many of the major oil palm production areas, although some methods exist to address this. © 2014. Source


Koczberski G.,Curtin University Australia | Curry G.N.,Curtin University Australia | Anjen J.,PNG Oil Palm Research Association
Australian Geographer | Year: 2012

This paper reports on the authors' ongoing research with agricultural extension services, customary landowners and migrant farmers to develop a template for a Land Usage Agreement (LUA) that seeks to reconcile customary landowners' and migrants' differing interpretations of the moral basis of land rights. The LUA shows a way forward for land reform that builds on customary tenure while strengthening the temporary use rights of migrants to enable them to generate viable and relatively secure livelihoods. The paper concludes that land tenure reform should draw on what is already happening on the ground, rather than impose external models that do not accord with local cultural mores about the inalienability of customary land and its enduring social and cultural significance for customary landowning groups. © 2012 Copyright Geographical Society of New South Wales Inc. Source


Dewhurst C.F.,PNG Oil Palm Research Association | Tennent W.J.,Natural History Museum in London
Australian Entomologist | Year: 2011

This note confirms the presence of three butterfly species, Erionota thrax hasdrubal Fruhstorfer (Hesperiidae), Taenaris phorcas (Westwood) and Elymnias cybele holofernes (Butler) (Nymphalidae), feeding on oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) in West New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea. One of these is a well known agricultural pest of banana plants; the other two species do not appear to have been recorded previously from West New Britain. Source

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