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Upper Navua Conservation Area. Credit - V. Jungblut

The Upper Navua Conservation Area (UNCA) encompasses the Upper Navua river gorge and approximately 58% of the entire catchment area. Lush highland rainforest surrounds the entire drainage and provides a host of botanical cures that are utilized by the indigenous peoples of the area. The forest, river and associated biodiversity provide the necessary supplies and food required for daily living and a wide range of ecosystem services to the entire catchment area including flood control for lower areas. The site is nationally and internationally exceptional in terms of both fauna and flora. Only one village (Nabukelevu) is located within the Upper Navua Conservation Area, however in earlier times the area hosted a number of village sites that have since been abandoned. There are also a number of burial grounds and other sacred sites protected by local custom, and by the UNCA where appropriate. These ancient village sites are now protected by local custom and are well known by the indigenous community. Today, logging is perhaps the greatest income provider for the landowners followed by agriculture and now by a recently established eco-tourism industry (Rivers Fiji Ltd.) that runs river trips through the gorge.