Project to protect, replant native trees

EVEN though Fiji’s native trees may not be extinct yet, some are a rarity these days leading to the need to protect and replant them for the future.

University of the South Pacific’s Institute of Applied Sciences scientific officer Albert Whippy said trees like the damanu and the dakua were hard to find in islands around the country. Mr Whippy said if they existed, there were not many.

“Native trees like the vesi still exist in forests around the country, but the iTaukei people have lost knowledge of its significance and use,” he said. “This is one reason that we are working with communities in the country to replant trees, especially native trees.

“We are working with communities in Ra and Kadavu provinces through our rescue project to revitalise the planting of native tree species.

“Our team is replanting native trees in areas that have been heavily logged and those areas that have become dry land because of deforestation.”

Mr Whippy said they preferred to replant native trees, adding that introduced species normally threatened the local biodiversity.

“Those communities that are interested to have similar projects in their forests can contact their respective divisional conservation officers who work directly with the provincial council offices,” he said.

“Interest is then forwarded to the Fiji Locally Marine Managed Areas who have their network with the Ministry of Forests, which can assist interested parties.”

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