Garrick Reserve Reforestation Initiative
Twenty seven of our club members and friends participated in an historical event on Saturday 25th July, 2009, as we together planted an insurance population of Sago palms and Navua palms in the Garrick Forest Reserve.
The Sago palm and Navua palm are endemic to Fiji and are both endangered.
The Sago palm is critically endangered because of habitat transformation (clearing of Sago fields in the past for agriculture and development), current unsustainable harvesting for the palm heart and thatching trade and unprotected Sago palm forests.
The Navua Palm on the other hand has a very restricted distribution, only known from the Nakavu Forest in Navua (site endemic!).
Sago palm and Navua palm seedlings had been potted as far back as December 2007 in preparation for this event.
The nursery staff of the Botanical Gardens of the University of the South Pacific had been looking after the Navua palm saplings until 75 pots were transferred to the Garrick Forest Reserve two days before the event; the Sago palm pots were taken from Dr. Dick Watling’s garden. The Sago palms had been potted in late 2008.
Located 10 minutes from Navua town, within the province of Namosi, the Garrick Forest Reserve is 429 hectares in size and is managed by the National Trust of Fiji Islands (see www.nationaltrust.org.fj).
The Garrick Forest Reserve was given as a gift to the National Trust by the Garrick family in 1980, and was declared a forest reserve because of its ecological value. In doing so, the Garrick Forest Reserve became ‘the first reserve in Fiji protecting tropical rainforest and meeting the requirements set by international conservation bodies.’
The hard-working club members and friends were blessed with beautiful sunshine as we plodded on to plant 145 Sago palms and 37 Navua palms in the Garrick Forest Reserve.
Some even took a detour and jumped into the cool stream flowing right by the planting sites; while a some determined individuals attacked the highly invasive Africal Tulip Tree with a vengeance!
We are very grateful to:
- the National Trust of Fiji Islands and Conservation International (Fiji Programme) for their staff and logistical support;
- the Turaga ni koro and youths of Nakavu Village for their assistance in weeding the planting area;
- to the nursery staff of the USP Botanical Gardens
- and to the Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens for financial support.
We also thank all members and our new friends who came to the event – it was very refreshing to see you all take to the task very enthusiastically!
Our next visit to the Garrick Forest Reserve is scheduled to be in early September.
We hope that you can join us then!