REDD+ Emalu Forest Survey
A rapid biodiversity assessment and archaeological survey was done on a Fiji REDD+ Pilot Site - the Emalu forest area on Viti Levu. This survey was the second phase to the assessment that was done in 2012.
Delaikoro Biodiversity Rapid Assessment, Socioeconomic Study and Archaeological Survey
The Global Environment Facility, through the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, funded this project to assess the biological diversity and conduct the socio-economic and archaeological survey of the Delaikoro mountain ecosystem on Vanua Levu, a proposed protected area.
REDD+ Vunivia Forest Survey
A rapid biodiversity assessment, archaeological survey and socio-political study of a Fiji REDD+ pilot site was conducted in Vunivia on Vanua Levu.
New Range Extensions
Vegetation surveys, headed by herbarium curator Marika Tuiwawa and consultant Senilolia Tuiwawa, in Emalu, in the province of Nadroga-Navosa, revealed the presence of some botanically important plant species. These important range extension discoveries were made for two endemic species on the IUCN Red List; Acmopyle sahniana and Degeneria vitiensis; as well as two other rare endemic palms whose Red List status is currently under review (Cyphosperma naboutinense and Metroxylon vitiensis). A new range extension to an altitude of 700m was also recorded for the orchid Nervilia cf. aragoana, which has previously only been recorded from altitudes below 400m. Another range extension is of the horsetail, Equisetum ramossimum subsp. debile previously recorded from the provinces of Namosi, Naitasiri and Ba. One other plant species was collected which is the most recent record and new range extension for the ground orchid Macodes cf. petola. This is a very rare species and one not normally seen in the forest.
Fiji Liveworts New Findings
Three new occurrence records were made for Fiji liverworts. MSc student, Mereia Katafono, discovered these new finds for Fiji during the process of identifying several hundred moss and liverwort samples collected during her fieldwork. The three liverworts were all collected from Vago Forest Reserve in the province of Naitasiri. One of them, not yet identified to species level, belongs to the genus Cephaloziella, and is the first member of this genus to be found in Fiji. Two other species (Telaranea tasmanica and Telaranea aff. Granulate) have also never been found in Fiji before.
New Findings in Habitat Ecology, and Plant-animal Interactions
During fieldwork in the Rewa delta as part of the IUCN MESCAL project, MSc student Lekima Copeland recorded a new addition to the brackish water fishes of Fiji; the sweetlip Plectorhinchus albovittatus. Previously this species was only known in Fiji from reef habitats. The finding of a juvenile specimen in the brackish delta waters expands our knowledge of the life cycle requirements of this species and highlights the importance of the mangrove ecosystem as a nursery for juvenile reef fishes.
Two significant breakthroughs were made in the CEPF-funded project ‘Conservation of Fiji’s Endemic and Rare Butterflies: Hypolimnas inopinata and Papilio schmeltzi’, which is coordinated by Hilda Sakiti-Waqa. The identity of the host plant of H. inopinata has now been determined conclusively to be Elatostema nemorosum Seem., an endemic member of the nettle family (Urticaceae). Additionally, the life cycle of this rare butterfly has been comprehensively documented, with larval instars, pupa and egg stages identified and their morphology fully recorded.