Delivering Sustainable Forest Management for Fiji’s People and Wildlife

Donor: Darwin Initiative (UK)

Project Impact: At the end of the project, a minimum total area of 26,000 ha of natural forest in Fiji will be designated as Permanent Forest Estates – consisting of Protected Areas and Sustainably Managed Forests - under the terms of Fiji’s Forest Policy.

At these designated sites, there will be measurable improvements in the sustainability of livelihoods for participating forest-owning Mataqali, from the harvesting of forest products, coupled with reduced pressure on the forest ecosystems.

These outcomes will be sustained through the development and implementation of new tools and materials, and by building local capacity through targeted training and support.

Overview: Fiji’s endemic biodiversity is primarily forest-based. However, half of native forests have been lost, with declines in biodiversity and ecosystem services. Forests are owned and used by mataqali (clans) for subsistence and income. Poverty and a lack of positive incentives and alternative management practices are the key drivers for forest loss.

Fiji's Forest Policy seeks to conserve natural forests, by engaging mataqali in sustainable forest management that conserves biodiversity and provides benefits from livelihoods. This will be achieved through establishing Permanent Forest Estates - consisting of Protected Areas and Sustainably Managed Forests.

BirdLife and NatureFiji-MareqetiViti have received requests from mataqali owning over 500,000 hectares of Fiji’s remaining forest wishing to work towards Permanent Forest Estates establishment. This project will build on this interest to research and implement actions with mataqali to deliver sustainable forest management as follows:

  1. Identify and highlight ecological, socio-economic and cultural values of sustainable forest management to provide incentives for enduring biodiversity conservation and sustainable livelihoods.
  2. Publish and implement framework to establish and improve first Permanent Forest Estates – consisting of Protected Areas and Sustainably Managed Forests - under Forest Policy (2007), with local capacity built to monitor sustainable management.
  3. Develop ecosystem-based sustainable livelihoods that will both reduce poverty and conserve forest ecosystems.
  4. Build project impact and sustainability by networking Site Support Groups and disseminating monitoring data for national and international advocacy.

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