Conservation officer, Kolinio Moce presented at the Department of Forestry’s SFM Workshop.
NatureFiji-MareqetiViti was invited by the Department of Forestry’s (DoF) training division to take part in their Sustainable Forestry Management (SFM) workshop, which was held near Labasa town, at Suweni Village.
The NFMV presentation included background information about our organisation, the ecosystem services and functions provided by forests, and the invasive American Iguana.
There were representatives from Suweni, Satulaki, Matailolo, Vunitalice, Lawaki, and Navatudamu villages.
These participants received NFMV’s presentation very positively and commented that the 150 minute session allocated to NFMV was too brief.
Several participants were excited about our local organisation and membership, and also asked that we return to conduct a more comprehensive workshop with them similar to our Permanent Forest Estates (PFE) campaign.
Feedback from the village representatives included comments about “how little they know (of) their own biodiversity”, how our presentation “made them appreciate what they have in their forests even more”, and that we “really simplified the message of biodiversity (to)… grass roots level” which enabled them to “understand the message that DoF (was) trying to get across”.
The information about the American Iguana alarmed those present, and several participants expressed interest in taking part of the awareness and eradication campaign that NFMV is leading.
Participants received PFE materials such as the translated Fiji Forest Policy booklet and the booklet on forest biodiversity and environmental services, thanks to the Aage. V. Jensen Fund, which funds the PFE awareness campaign.
The illustrated guide on Fiji’s palms was an appropriate gift as there are several rare and threatened endemic palm species that are found in the forests of the villages that participated in the workshop.
Representatives from these villages were surprised to learn that their forests were home to four rare palms.
The participants from Satulaki Village mentioned that there were many illegal poachers who were taking seedlings of the very rare palm Balaka bulitavu, and asked that NFMV assist them in seeking assistance from local authorities to protect this palm species.