Department of Forests personnel undergoing Forestry Technical Training with the Forestry Training Centre received a quick lesson in herpetofauna survey and identification with Nunia Thomas on Wednesday 5th August. These students are no ordinary students, some have been in the Department of Forests for more than 10 years and have been in some of Fiji’s most remote forests!
The lizard survey of the Naseyani plantation has proven that one can never know enough.
Using the standard lizard collection method of sticky traps, the team captured and counted three species of native skinks and one species of introduced, invasive gecko.
Sticky traps were set up in three different habitat types:
- the gully forest (comprised mainly of native species of trees);
- the recently logged slope in the pine plantation; and
- a yet to be logged pine plantation.
It was no surprise to Nunia to find that the native species of skinks were only found in the gully
The herpetofauna training is a key component of the joint project by NatureFiji-MareqetiViti and the Fiji Department of Forests on delivering on sustainable forest, and establishing Permanent Forest Estates for Fiji’s people and biodiversity.
Because of the students’ existing expertise, they will be giving recommendations to the Department of Forests on the incorporation of biodiversity surveys into the monitoring of compliance to the Fiji Forest Harvesting Code of Practice in Pine plantations.
Further details on incorporating biodiversity surveys, however, will need to be properly planned and discussed amongst local ecologists and the Fiji Department of Forests