Mt. Nabukelevu, also known as Mt. Washington, is Kadavu’s highest mountain and has the largest area of montane forest on the island.
NatureFiji-MareqetiViti was invited by Birdlife International Fiji Programme to present at a two day workshop at Daviqele Village, Kadavu on the” Mount Nabukelevu Important Bird Area (IBA) Management Planning Workshop”.
The site was declared an IBA as it holds four bird species endemic to Kadavu Island, and may also hold nesting colonies of threatened sea birds.
BL-I initially began conservation activities in Kadavu in 2005, leading to the establishment of a Site Support Group (SSG) with representatives from the four villagers around Mt. Nabukelevu which are, Lomati, Nabukelevuira, Daviqele and Kabariki.
NFMV conservation officer Kelera Macedru attended the two day workshop (13th – 14th April 2010) presenting to the forty participants at the workshop, on endangered species that NFMV was and is currently working on.
Other facilitators at the workshop were from the Dept. of Agriculture (Epeli Dugucagi and Seremaia Namanuloa ), Land Use section (Solomone Nagaunavou), Dept. of Forestry (Jone Rawasoi), Dept. of Fisheries ( Seru Batibasaga) led by Birdlife International (Tuvere Tuamoto and Mere Valu).
Each topic presented at the meeting by the facilitators was designed to help the participants with the concept of ‘Connectivity’ of the natural ecosystem, of which the communities are now a part, stressing the responsibility of the people in caring for their environment.
At the end of the two day workshop, leaders of land owning units, marked out boundaries of their land that are part of Mt. Nabukelevu, on a map, agreeing to protect the site for 20 years with a periodic review of every 5 years. The community-declared protected area on the top most part of Mt. Nabukelevu now includes 10 mataqali (clan) lands plus a native reserve.
As the workshop was held during the one week celebration of “Plant a million trees campaign”, 20 young Vesi Intsia bijuga trees were planted on the last day of workshop, commemorating the signing of the MOU by landowning leaders for Mt. Nabukelevu IBA and in support of the campaign.
The numbers of trees planted have been recorded by the Department of Forestry as part of the one million trees target. Tui Nabukelevu was the first to plant a tree near the shores of Daviqele village, followed by village elders, SSG representatives and workshop participants.
Work on drafting a Management plan for the community declared Protected Area will be an ongoing event, for SSG Members, relevant members of the community and Birdlife International.