coconut plantation

Large areas of mature coconut stems across the Pacific region are now unproductive and are a potential source of wood for high-value flooring and other products. Engineered coconut 'wood'  could provide one solution to waning global timber resources while contributing significantly to local economies. Despite this, the stems were consdered uneconomic to harvest until the wood properties are better understood and appropriate processing technologies are developed. 

The ACIAR funded-project FST 2004/054 Improving value and marketability of coconut wood (The Cocowood Improvement Project) provided the science to underpin coconut wood production, engineering and marketing initiatives and address gaps in our understanding of cocowood properties and suitable processing technologies.

The project developed processing systems appropriate for producing high quality flooring using new approaches relevant to cocowood. These were driven by a greater understanding of cocowood properties and the causes of post-harvest staining and aesthetic downgrade. The project delivered training and guidelines for product standards, grading and quality control. 

Project outcomes provided long term benefits by improving the manufacture and acceptance of coconut wood in the international, high value flooring market. Local business and communities benefited from the development of appropriate technologies that contributed to sustainable, economic management of the cocowood resource in the Pacific region. 

To read more about this project and other ACIAR-funded projects visit thier ACIAR website.

Project Objectives

Understand the properties of coconut wood

Which characteristics of coconut wood have implications for design and manufacture of high quality flooring?

Develop processing systems for high quality flooring

Which sawing technologies, stain treatments, seasoning conditions, planing, sanding and finishing systems are appropriate for coconut wood?

Definine standards for products and procedures

Appropriate grading standards, product specifications and quality control procedures for coconut wood will improve the international acceptance of coconut wood.

Find options for the low-quality stem fraction

Can we improve uses for the low density fraction of stems by developing low-cost products?

Create knowledge exchange

The cocowood website will deliver information and news and encourage contact and discussion between industry, research and other stakeholders

Project partners 

 Australian Centre for International Research ACIAR Partner agencies 

  1. Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Queensland (DAF) - Australian Commissioned
  2. Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) - Partner Countries Coordination
  3. Coconut Development Industry Development Authority (CIDA) - Partner Country Coordination, Fiji
  4. Ministry of Fisheries and Forests, Department of Forests,(MFF) - Partner Country Collaborating Organisation
  5. Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment and Meteorology, Forestry Division, Samoa - Partner Country Collaborating Organisation
  6. Strickland Brothers Ltd - Partner Country Coordination, Samoa