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Mamanuca Group Takes Action To Save Dry Forest

Mamanuca Group Takes Action To Save Dry Forest
Brigid Whitton, Tui Lawa Ratu Sevanaia Vatunitu, US ambassdor Judith Cefkin, Rosie Group managing director Tony Whitton, general manager Steve Anstey, and Embassy of the US regional environmental officer Mark Mineo at Solevu, Malolo yesterday. Photo: WAISEA NASOKIA
May 19
17:47 2017

 

Tourism stakeholders and communities got together to launch an awareness campaign in a bid to promote and advocate saving dry forest in the Mamanuca Group.

 

Significance

Tropical dry forest is considered to be one of the most endangered ecosystems and habitats in the Pacific.

In Fiji, dry forest ecosystems are only found on major islands in the rain shadow or dry areas, and the Mamanuca Group is a perfect example.

More recently the Mamanuca Environment Society (MES), through the valuable help of a grant from the US Regional Environmental Office has been instrumental in addressing some of the critical reforestation issues.

This includes the establishment of a Natural Resource Committee in each of the villages represented: Solevu, Yaro, Tavua and Yanuya.

The MES together with various stakeholders from the tourism sector, local government agencies, the Embassy of the United States, came together at Solevu Village on Malolo Levu yesterday to seek traditional permission from the Tui Lawa Ratu Sevanaia Vatunitu.

These stakeholders will then collect dry forest seedlings and propagate them in the dry forest nurseries funded by the US Embassy.

 

US-Fiji connection

US Ambassador Judith Cefkin who officiated at the event said:

“We realise the scientific knowledge of understanding for our environment, and we are reminded that our forefathers understood attentively that every aspect of our environment are inter-related. So the forest we take for granted play an integral role.”

Through the US grant support, each village has had a nursery built.

 

Forestry training

Forestry training has been provided, gardening tools and an ongoing education system set up.

It is a giant step in the creation of dry forest awareness and the setting of long term plans to re-establish and care for our existing forests for future generations.

The US Forest Service also provided overseas forestry training opportunities recently for Sia Rasalato, who is the Ahura Resorts environment manager, working closely with MES and other partners.

Ahura Resorts owner, Tony Whitton said: “It’s an amazing testimony that tourism is a part of. Now the next stage is focusing on the land,” he said.

“We are delighted on behalf of Malolo Island and Likuliku to partner with the American Embassy and so many stakeholders who are part of this wonderful programme to really begin a reforestation programme that starts to make sure we have the 12 species of vegetation to plant.”

 

About Malolo Levu

Malolo Levu, the largest of the islands in the Mamanuca Group comprises 960 hectares of land area which was once covered by dry forest.

Today, only 29 hectares or just three per cent of the island has dry forest.

The MES is playing a leading role in the reforestation projects in the Mamanucas.

 

About Mamanuca Environment Society

The MES is funded through Mamanuca Resort membership including Castaway Island Resort, Vomo Island Resort, Mana Island Resort, Likuliku Lagoon Resort, Malolo Island Fiji, Nomotu Island Resort, Tavurua Island Resort, Navini Island Resort, Tokoriki Island Resort and their guest donations. Membership from SeaFiji, Subsurface, South Sea Cruises, Jet Ski Adventures and Cloud9.

Current MES sponsors are: Fiji Airways, Paradise Beverages, KPMG and Outrigger Resorts and the Embassy of the United States of America.

Edited by Caroline Ratucadra

Feedback:  waisean@fijisun.com.fj

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