Fiji – Sustainable forest management

Fiji – Sustainable forest management

– Realising Fiji‘s Dream: Working Towards Sustainable Forest Management for People, for Nature, Forever

Year: 2012 – 2014
: NatureFiji-MareqetiViti, BirdLife International

Project Background
The tropical forests of the Fiji Islands are critical for the conservation of Fiji’s unique biodiversity (over 90% of which are associated with forest habitats), provide valuable ecosystem services (such as soil conservation, water purification and carbon storage) and are very important for their deeply-rooted traditional social and cultural values. 90% of Fiji’s land and forests are owned by indigenous ‘family clans’ called mataqali. Forests provide the main source of livelihood for these mataqali. It is their great provider, and they are its guardian. About half of Fiji’s forests have already been lost through clearance for agriculture, unsustainable logging and fire. To reverse this trend the government has agreed a Fiji Forest Policy (2007) that identifies Permanent Forest Estates (PFE) within which landowners can become part of the forest industry through sustainably managing their forest or providing permanent protection. This visionary policy aims to move from 50 years of ad-hoc logging to sustainable long-term management, thereby maintaining forested areas and providing livelihood opportunities for the local communities.

A previous Aage V. Jensen Charity Foundation (AVJCF) project “Creating Permanent Forest Estates for the Benefit of Fiji’s People and Biodiversity” (2008 to 2011) enabled NatureFiji-MareqetiViti to raise awareness regarding the government‘s PFE policy among the leading forest-owning mataqali. Working alongside the Department of Forests, NatureFiji-MareqetiViti and the BirdLife International Pacific Partnership completed discussions with landowners of nearly 70% of Fiji’s remaining forests many of whom expressed interest in either developing sustainable forest management practices or providing complete protection for their forested areas. AVJCF funding has initiated a step change in wildlife conservation in the Oceania.

This new project builds on the earlier awareness raising activity to focus on the practical and innovative actions required to ensure long-term sustainable forest management and protection in Fiji (and use this as a forest conservation model throughout the Pacific Islands). Interested mataqali now require continued help and support to work with the Fijian Government towards legally-binding, long-term commitments, and to translate their traditional rights into law. NatureFiji MareqetiViti (NFMV), together with the BirdLife International Pacific Partnership, have the mandate from all stakeholders to provide that support. This project will facilitate commitments towards sustainable forest management and protection from forest-owning local communities; thus empowering them to quantify and promote the economic and social (eco-system service) value of forests to society.

Project Goal
To conserve Fiji’s forests and endemic biodiversity by empowering local people to actively monitor, manage and protect their forests, and to value the existence of these unique ecosystems.

pdficon_largeRealising Fiji’s Dream – 2012 Annual Progress Report (PDF 1.447 KB)