Managing Invasive Species at Key Biodiversity Areas in Palau and Fiji: A Community-based Approach for Long-term Sustainability

Monuriki Island, Fiji. Photo: Stuart Chape

Donor: Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund*          

Project Impact: The project is working in Palau and Fiji to address Invasive Alien Species by:

  • Eradication of all rodents and cats from Kayangel atoll in Palau
  • Ensure community-based monitoring and biosecurity systems are functioning effectively in Palau and Fiji
  • Establish sustainable management of restored island ecosystems in Palau and Fiji
  • Demonstrate impact and disseminate best practices

Overview:

Palau: The Republic of Palau is home to one of the last remaining populations of the Endangered Micronesian Megapode, with the largest and most dense population found on Kayangel atoll, at the Ngeriungs Important Bird Area (IBA/KBA). Kayangel is also important for priority species such as the Marianas Flying Fox and the Green and Hawksbill Sea Turtles.

Traditional knowledge of people from Kayangel indicates that at least 15 species of endemic and regionally restricted birds used to reside on the atoll two decades ago. However, during bird surveys conducted in 2009 and 2010, only three resident species were observed. This decline is mainly attributed to the presence of invasive alien species - most importantly rats, mice and feral cats.

The Palau Conservation Society (BirdLife Partner, PCS) and BirdLife International are working in collaboration with the local community on Kayangel to eradicate rodents and feral cats from the island, and to sustain the conservation outcomes through community-based monitoring and the initiation of biosecurity, Protected Area development and livelihoods activities. 

Fiji: Invasive Alien Species are also widely recognised in the decline of Fiji’s island biodiversity, especially for seabird breeding colonies. BirdLife International has eradicated invasive rodents from Important Bird Areas across Fiji. The challenge in Fiji is now to enhance the sustainability of the ‘restored’ islands and maximise their value to traditional owners.

Through this project, BirdLife and NatureFiji-MareqetiViti are working to safeguard Globally Threatened biodiversity and will improve the socio-economic conditions of island communities at four Key Biodiversity Areas. They are providing sustainable mechanisms for invasive species eradication, monitoring, biosecurity, natural resource management and livelihoods improvement for the local landowners. Most critically, it will mobilise communities to prevent invasive species re-invasions on their islands; without such prevention, all eradication efforts will be wasted.

*CEPF is a joint initiative of l’Agence Française de Développement, Conservation International, the European Union, the Global Environment Facility, the Government of Japan, the MacArthur Foundation, and the World Bank. CEPF is designed to safeguard biodiversity hotspots – the richest and most threatened reservoirs of plant and animal life on earth.