The Nakauvadra Community Based Reforestation Project in Fiji has been developed by Conservation International (CI), and funded through the support of FIJI Water. The project is located on the northern tip of Viti Levu in the Province of Ra. It is comprised of 1,135 ha of reforestation plots along the Southern and Northern slopes of the Nakauvadra Range, a 11,387 ha forest refuge that has been designated as a Key Biodiversity Area (KBA) and is earmarked as a priority site in Fiji’s proposed protected area network.
The project’s main objective is to develop a multiple benefit, community based reforestation project that:
• Reforests an area of 1,135 ha which results in the sequestration of at least 280,000 tCO2 over the 30 year project lifespan, validated and verified to the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standards (CCBS);
• Increases forest cover around the Nakauvadra Range to expand critical habitat for endangered and endemic species living there, and enhances forest connectivity with other adjacent forest blocks;
• Enables local landowners to benefit from job creation, increased revenue, and the enhancement of livelihoods in both the short and long term.
The project incorporates a community-based reforestation model, planting hardwood timber species on 28% of the total area which can be sustainably harvested upon reaching maturity to provide for long term income generation for the landowning communities. Reforestation of the remaining 72% of the project site will be using native and endemic species, to reforest areas on the steeper slopes of the Nakauvadra Range which will expand forest habitat and create a ‘green wall’ around the more pristine upland and cloud forest ecosystems that are found in the rugged and higher elevation areas of the Range. The reforestation sites have been strategically identified to ensure the creation of new forest patches that are envisaged in the long term to help establish a conservation corridor between the Nakauvadra Range and nearby Wabu/Tomaniivi Range, 4kms away on the south western flanks of Nakauvadra.
As part of the livelihoods component of the project, CI has worked extensively with communities and farmers in the project zone to provide training and support in the development of new livelihood enterprises and sustainable agricultural practices, and has included the distribution of thousands of seedlings to encourage crop diversification, with fruit plants and traditional root crops to benefit families and improve food security.