sandalwood and kauri tree forests
Erromango is one of the larger islands, sparsely populated,
mountainous, rugged and mainly forested. Like Aneityum, it once supported a large population (up to 10,000) as a
base for Sandalwood and Kauri traders. Some majestic 1000-year old Kauri trees still stand.
Large in volume, Kauri trees can grow up to 50
metres (150 feet) in height.
(Photo: by W. Bulach - Own
work, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikkimedia Commons)
It was heavily exploited for its Sandalwood and the local population suffered at the hands of infamous Blackbirders – they
captured islanders and took them to work on Fijian and Australian sugar plantations.
Even nowadays Malayan logging companies exploit the island’s
hardwoods, although the local communities have been effective in resisting unsustainable logging practices. With
assistance from the European Union, a Kauri Reserve is being established on the island, to protect Kauri and other