David regarding tree species , I understand that the larger trees are similar species right up the island chain to PNG, but with many local names. I was in Guadacanal in the 80's buying timber . The millers took down all the large trees as "tropical mahogany" but were of quite a few species , including some known here as Vitex, kwila , balau and real mahogany. Sandal wood was a premium species and I was told that they were now in their third cutover taking smaller trees because of the value. Most was sent as logs to the Far East for veneers but a lot was being milled on site into slabs because of the war. The log centres dating before 1942 were full of bullets and shrapnel which caused havoc to saw blades and veneer knives , so the mills were cutting off the outer slabs for slicing and as a result massive piles of squared logs were dumped . I was given a bomb casing nut of 50mm diameter with obvious tooth marks on it when it jammed the saw. At this time the cutting was done north of Honiara and about 8 km inland . Quite a ride to get there in a 4X4 and there were still remains of armoured vehicles in the creeks. The German miller who I was buying the timber from said how cautious they were of wartime booby traps which had maimed a few of his crew. So if a tree crown was thought to hold an explosive they fired a grappel into it and tore the branches down . When asked about the bones he said "what bones !" In the end much of the bush mahogany wasnt worth a lot , some of it turning yellow or green and others leaching out indelible sap . However a lot of Solomons vitex is now on NZ decks.
Peter, Thanks for your detailed descriptions of what it is like identifying tree species in the tropics, and you have confirmed my worst fears, that local names are known, but unless you are extremely fortunate, getting the scientific name would depend on whether a knowledgeable local happened to be around at the time. Not that I am volunteering to go there out of idle curiosity. I have read a short scientific paper on timber trees in the PNG area, but unfortunately this did not extend to very many of the smaller island groups, including the St Matthias group. And your account of what happened to timber trees on Guadalcanal gives little hope for the future of attractive trees within easy reach of Asian firms on the lookout for fresh stands, preferably NOT growing in areas that have suffered warfare. The RNZAF sawmills at Guadalcanal, New Georgia and Los Negros also learned the hard way there of the great difficulty in identifying "war damaged" trees in natural forests. I would imagine that the (probably high) cost of getting large quantities of tall timber off Emirau might be the reason why it has not already disappeared. David D
Well spotted medicus, and I have a feeling that there were probably a lot more minor attacks on just about all the plantations and huts all around the coast of New Ireland by the various squadrons on their daily dawn and dusk sweeps, which might include bombing or just strafing. In many cases in the ORB, no specific targets are mentioned, although they may have expended all their ammunition and bombs on something considered to be possibly connected with the Japanese. These sweeps were generally flown by single aircraft. David D