The British High Commission (Suva) congratulates Culanuku Village (Serua) for restoring their Sago Palm Wetlands.

The British High Commission paid their first visit to Culanuku village, Serua on the 19th of February, 2009.

Following on from our community consultations on the Fiji Sago Palm Recovery Plan, the Culanuku Sago Palm forest was identified as a potential restoration site by NatureFiji-MareqetiViti because of its accessibility and the dominance of young sago palm saplings (which means that they will not be harvested because they are too young).

The main threat to the survival of the Culanuku Sago Palm Wetland forest is the absence of taller, mature sago palm trees that would normally protect sago palm saplings against invasive species such as Merremia peltata (wa damu), Spathodea campanulata (pasiu), and Mikania micrantha (wabosucu).

These invasive species invade clear sago palm forests and choke saplings, thus destroying upcoming populations of sago palm.

In his address, Acting British High Commissioner, His Excellency, Mr. Shaun Cleary congratulated the community of Culanuku Village for agreeing to protect a species that is not only a major source of livelihood to the community, but also an endemic and very endangered palm.

Mr. Cleary also emphasized the importance of local communities in protecting and wisely our endemic plants and animals and elaborated on the British High Commission’s support for such initiatives.

The villagers of Culanuku will be routinely removing the invasive weeds from the sago palm forest to allow the sago palm saplings to grow without hindrance from invasive species.

We (NatureFiji-MareqetiViti, National Trust for Fiji and the Department of Environment) sincerely thank the British High Commission, Suva for funding the project.
Lessons learnt from this project will help us refine the Fiji Sago Palm Recovery Plan and devise strategies on how to sustainably use this endemic resource in the future.

A big vinaka vakalevu to the Serua Provincial office and the members of Culanuku Village for their continued support towards the project.