Fire control in and around the Greater Tomaniivi IBA/ KBA


Species habitat loss due to land conversion by fire has been identified as a threat to biodiversity in Fiji by BirdLife International (Important Bird Areas in Fiji, 2006). Fire has been traditionally used as a land management tool, and despite conflicting views on its devastating impact on soil fertility, sustainable agriculture and biodiversity, it has not been adequately addressed. There is a wide misconception that using fire as a land management technique is beneficial to soil productivity (whereas it is, in fact, detrimental).

Indiscrimate burning is a threat to Fiji’s wildlife and their special places

This projects seeks to better understand current agricultural and waste management systems within Nasoqo and Navai villages, and to use this data to develop a communications strategy and awareness toolkit to minimise the impact of intentional and indiscriminate fires on the biodiversity within and around one of Fiji’s Important Bird Areas/ Key Biodiversity Area: Greater Tomaniivi Area (IBA FJ 07).


This project is funded by BirdLife International’s Young Conservation Leadership Programme (YCLP). The grant was secured by NFMV Project Support Officer, Melania Segaidina  and NFMV Conservation Officer, Siteri Tikoca.

The YCLP is an “international capacity building programme supporting young conservationists, the majority of whom are working in their own countries, to undertake applied biodiversity projects in less developed countries”.

The supporting project team members include NFMV interns: Kalisi Waqa, Meli Naiqama, Miriam Brown Bhurrah, Jake Taoi and Ana Lutua.

Matt Capper of Talanoa Treks and Nunia Thomas-Moko, Director of NFMV mentor the project team.


Household surveys and focus group discussions

Household surveys and focus group discussions were used to get a better understanding of how the communities of Navai and Nasoqo use fire.

The data indicated that the two communities hardly use fire to clear land for agriculture and waste management. They use traditional methods of land clearing that had been passed down from previous generations, and also use pesticides and weedicides. The communities have witnessed the negative impacts of the use of weedicides and pesticides on freshwater fish in their river systems.

Story book, fire and ladder game and custom playing cards

Based on the data collected, the project team and interns developed the following materials:

“My grandfather’s plantation in Naikadua” – this story books follows a little boy named Pita on his day out in his grandfather’s plantation, where he learns all about traditional agricultural methods that are practiced by the people of Nasoqo and Navai villages.

One side of the book has text to tell the story, while the page on the other side illustrates the story. It is a color-in story book, specifically designed for children.

The story is told in the local dialect of the people of Nasoqo and Navai. The story book was developed by all the NFMV intern; the concept was developed by Miriam Bhurrah, translation by Meli Naiqama and the picture concepts by Jake Taoi, Kalisi Waqa and Melania Segaidina.


A special pack of playing cards featuring Fijian birds found in the Greater Tomaniivi IBA, with conservation messages translated into the local dialect spoken in Nasoqo and Navai villages. The cover image is of the Fiji Masked Shining Parrot, which is endemic to Viti Levu.

A fire and ladder game to highlight the negative impacts of bad land use practices and the rewarding benefits of good land use practices.


The project team is grateful to BirdLife International and the Young Conservation Leadership Program for the opportunity to run such a project, and to build team capacity to do so. The experiences gained have led the team members to efficiently participate in NatureFiji-MareqetiViti’s projects in other parts of Fiji, and the development of our 2020 – 2024 organisation strategy.

We would not have been able to visit the communities of Nasoqo and Navai without the blessings of the Yavusa o Nasoqo, the Naitasiri Provincial Office and the Itaukei Affairs Board.

For the photographs on the playing cards, we are grateful to Dr. Dick Watling for giving us permission to reproduce the images from his book: A Guide to the Birds of Fiji and Western Polynesia, and to Dr. Paddy Ryan for allowing us to use his photograph of the Viti Levu endemic, Fiji Masked Shining Parrot from his book: Fiji’s Natural Heritage.