Nabukelevu youths master the art of sandalwood propagation and contour farming

The youths and men from the four villages surrounding Mt Nabukelevu (IBA FJ12) attended a two day sandalwood and nursery after care monitoring training.

Mount Nabukelevu in Kadavu supports four bird species and eight subspecies endemic to Kadavu.

It is also home to seabirds such as the wedge-tailed shearwaters and may still support nesting colonies of Collared petrels and Polynesian storm petrels.

In May 2011, the communities in four villages namely Lomati, Nabukelevuira, Qalira and Daviqele have set aside over 1000 hectares of forest which will be protected for 20 years.

Mt Nabukelevu - west Kadavu
Mt Nabukelevu – west Kadavu

The project initiated in Nabukelevu in 2009 took an integrated approach to resource management and it specifically addressed the key driver of forest degradation: unsustainable agriculture.

It also promoted sustainable land use practices on sloping agricultural lands by using vertiver grass and pineapples to control soil erosion and water run-off.

Contour farming on slopes
Contour farming on slopes

Initially most of the demonstration was conducted in Lomati village where the Local Conservation Group (LCG) took the lead in the germination and propagation of sandalwood seeds and pineapple suckers. This has been successful as the LCG have been getting a good return from the sale of the pineapple and sandalwood seedlings.

This was a model for the remaining three villages and this training provided an opportunity for them to also learn the importance of sustainable farming practices and the skills needed in germinating sandalwood seeds and monitoring nursery growth before transplanting into the field. The two day training was opened by the Roko Tui Kadavu who stressed the importance of maintaining the unique biodiversity in the IBA.

Youths learn nursery techniques
Youths learn nursery techniques

This training was funded by the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Program (GEF SGP).