• Fulbright Research Presentation by Dr. Andrew Henderson: Systematics and Conservation of the Rattans of Sulawesi

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    A short summary of the research:

    Rattans are spiny, climbing palms whose stems are the rattan cane of commerce, widely used in the furniture industry to manufacture cane furniture. Rattan cane is one of the most important non-timber forest products, and provides all or part of the livelihood of a large number of people, especially those from rural areas. Indonesia is probably the largest producer of raw rattan cane in the world, and much of this cane comes from the island of Sulawesi. Present harvesting practices in Sulawesi are thought to be unsustainable in the long term.

    Most rattan is harvested from one genus, Calamus. This is the largest genus of palms, with 400 species currently recognized. These are distributed throughout the Asian tropics, from western India to the western Pacific, with an outlying species in West Africa. The greatest diversity of species of Calamus is in Indonesia. Dr. Henderson has been engaged in a revision of Calamus for a number of years. Of all the areas where species of Calamus occur, by far the least well known taxonomically is Sulawesi. Furthermore, the conservation status of Sulawesi species, including the most heavily harvested species, is unknown.

    These attributes of Calamus – an important non-timber forest product that is currently harvested unsustainably and is poorly known taxonomically – are the basis of the present study. Dr. Henderson and his counterpart Dr. Pitopang propose to carry out three activities. The first is to collect herbarium specimens of rattans from as many areas in Sulawesi as possible. Secondly, these specimens, together with those already existing in other herbaria (particularly the herbarium in Bogor, Indonesia), will be used to produce a field guide to the rattans of Sulawesi. This will be published in both English and Indonesian languages. The third activity is to use IUCN criteria to estimate the conservation status of Sulawesi rattans.

    Presenter: Dr. Andrew Henderson (Fulbright US Scholar 2017)

    Home institution: New York Botanical Garden

    Host institution: Tadulako University, Palu

    This event is open to the public and free of charge.

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