Suva, June 30 (IANS) Fiji has launched a replanting programme for the Nadarivatu Forest Reserve in the interior of Viti Levu, the country’s main island, to increase its forest cover by 2030.
Speaking at a launching ceremony, Fiji’s Minister for Forests Osea Naiqamu said this was an important milestone, for the community and the Fijian government as a whole, reports Xinhua news agency.
Naiqamu said the Fijian government has ensured the provision of resources so that the island nation can maintain, expand and restore forest areas and continue to do so into the future.
The 7,000 hectares of Nadarivatu Forest Reserve destroyed by cyclones and bush fireshas several important functions, especially as a high biodiversity site.
It is also habitat for some of Fiji’s rare endemic flora and fauna species, some of which are threatened with extinction.
This area is also the source of water that drains down to the major Sigatoka and Wainibuka Rivers protecting both the supply and quality of the water in the catchments which are sources of food for villagers and for Fiji’s major markets.
The replanting project will support Fiji’s objective to increase forest cover by 2030 and to ensure sustainability of indigenous forest species by providing an indigenous forest seed bank for future seed collection.
This is a first and will set precedence for other forest reserves in Fiji.