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Land use management

Repeka Nasiko
Thursday, May 15, 2014

THE impacts of climate change on coastal Viti Levu could be drastic if land is not managed wisely.

This is the view of South Pacific Community Land Resources Division deputy director Sairusi Bulai.

"We talk about climate change, if we look around Viti Levu, for example, and the whole of Fiji, most of the arable lands where people are planting their food and where most of the developments take place are on flat areas and very near the coast," he said.

"If sea level rise predictions become a reality, all of these areas are going to be out of production."

He said while moving to safer grounds was an option, other factors such as redevelopment should also be considered.

"People are going to need to move uphill. And if we look at the uphill areas, they will need a lot of work.

"We will need to rehabilitate these areas again and bring them back to food production for people to survive.

"That is where the policies become important. How are we challenging people to properly use land for the future?"

Mr Bulai said this was an area where policies on proper land use was vital.

He said while the framework for sustainable land use in the 2007 Fiji Forest Policy was a positive move in terms of consultations with every stakeholder involved, there was still a need to consider other factors like climate change.

"There is a lot of development happening globally in terms of climate change.

"There is the REDD Plus program which ensures there is sufficient forests on the ground to continue to provide for communities.

"If we look at Viti Levu there are large areas of grassland and open spaces.

"There a lot of fires being conducted without any thought of what it will do to the vegetation and the soil."

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