27/07/2013
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Britain helps Fiji conservation

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Silktail occurs in mature rain forest, forest fragments, logged forests and plantations on Taveuni and Vanua Levu, Fiji; despite its adaptability it is still classified as Near Threatened. Photo: Aviceda (commons.wikimedia.org).
Silktail occurs in mature rain forest, forest fragments, logged forests and plantations on Taveuni and Vanua Levu, Fiji; despite its adaptability it is still classified as Near Threatened. Photo: Aviceda (commons.wikimedia.org).
The British government has launched a new BirdLife project to conserve Fiji’s dry tropical forests.

The forests of the Fijian group of islands are home to the large majority of its native wildlife, including two endemic bird species, while also benefitting local people by providing valuable fresh water, fuel, medicine and food. However, half of this habitat has been lost by uncontrolled and unsustainable logging.

The launch, held at the private residence of the High Commissioner of the United Kingdom to Fiji, celebrated the start of the project entitled 'Delivering sustainable forest management for Fiji’s people and wildlife'. The new three-year project is being partly funded by the UK government's Darwin Initiative and seeks to protect at least 26,000 ha of woodland for the benefit of nature and people. Led by BirdLife International, it will work with NatureFiji-MareqetiViti, the Department of Forestry and the Ministry of the Environment.

BirdLife International works with its Partners around the globe to conserve biodiversity and give local people a voice through our Local Empowerment Programme. “We recognise that effective, long-term conservation must be achieved at grass-roots levels, by local communities”, announced Donald Stewart, BirdLife Director for the Pacific Partnership. “The project will empower local communities to better manage their forests”, said Nunia Thomas, Director of NatureFiji-MareqetiViti.

“It is a great pleasure for us at the High Commission, together with our partners at BirdLife International, to the launch a new three-year project here in Fiji,” said Mr Dan Salter – Deputy High Commissioner of the United Kingdom to Fiji. “BirdLife International have a fantastic track record of success in protecting endangered species of birds and in working alongside communities to help develop more sustainable approaches to the management of their natural resources – not just in Fiji, but across the Pacific and throughout the world."
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