Forests of Hope in the Pacific
Natewa Tunuloa and Nabukelevu IBAs are areas of significant native forest where our objective is to protect, reduce the pressures on, and ultimately expand the extent of the current native forest.
To date in the Pacific, the Forests of Hope programme has focused on community conservation at two sites in Fiji and working with the Fiji government to develop sustainable forest management across the country.
Natewa Tunuloa and Nabukelevu IBAs are areas of significant native forest where our objective is to protect, reduce the pressures on, and ultimately expand the extent of the current native forest. We have undertaken this in partnership with NatureFiji-MareqetiViti, the BirdLife partner in Fiji, and the local communities. The latter have established Site Support Groups at the sites. Each of these SSGs have been successful in both protecting the current forest and developing alternative livelihoods, which in turn reduces the pressure on the remaining forest.
NatureFiji-MareqetiViti, the BirdLife Partner in Fiji, is working closely with the Governments Forestry Department to turn the national Forestry Policy into action. This involves the establishment of Permanent Forest Estates. Forest landowning representatives can register their forest estate in return for involvement in the governments forest industry. Forest blocks within the PFE may either be Sustainably Managed or given full protection. We are working with the government to establish the mechanism by which landowners can achieve this, and promote the advantages should they do so. This programme of work has been funded by the Aage V. Jensen Charity Foundation, BirdLife International Community Conservation Fund and UK Darwin Initiative.
Elsewhere in the tropical Pacific our BirdLife partners in New Caledonia has forests that cover a similar extent of land. We would like to consider ways to expand the Forests of Hope programme to that country. This is a high priority – the unique forests and wildlife of New Caledonia are one of the crown jewels of the natural world. Other tropical Pacific countries with significant patches of rainforest include Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. We are developing links with national NGOs in these countries. Establishing programmes to maintain forest extent in these countries will be a priority over the next few years.