Australian Systematic Botany Australian Systematic Botany Society
Taxonomy, biogeography and evolution of plants

Domestication and use of Australian acacias: case studies of five important species

S. J. Midgley and J. W. Turnbull

Australian Systematic Botany 16(1) 89 - 102
Published: 25 March 2003


Some Acacia species native to Australia and neighbouring countries are significant in the rural economy of many countries. Aspects of the domestication process and uses of A. mangium, A. crassicarpa, A. mearnsii, A. saligna and A. colei are reviewed. Commercial plantations of A. mearnsii in tropical highlands and temperate areas provide high quality tannins for adhesives and leather making and wood for paper pulp, rayon, charcoal and small-utility timbers. Plantations of A. saligna in warm-temperate and semi-arid areas provide stock fodder, soil stabilisation, fuelwood and charcoal. In the humid tropical lowlands of South-east Asia, pulpwood is produced in extensive plantings of A. mangium and in smaller-scale plantations of A. crassicarpa in Indonesia. The human food value of seeds of some dry-zone Australian acacias, such as A. colei, is recognised. Domestication of these and other Australian acacias is at various stages and is influenced by the characteristics of the species, extent of planting and the commercial value of the products. The potential for many acacias to become weeds is recognised. The case studies highlight a number of important aspects in domesticating acacias.

© CSIRO 2003

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