USP replants trees damaged by cyclone
The University of the South Pacific is working closely with the Department of Forestry in a bid to replant trees that were damaged during Tropical Cyclone Winston. The Occupational and Environmental Health and Safety unit at USP has identified areas around the Statham and upper Laucala campus, and are working to replant trees that will be able to withstand future devastating cyclones. USP Environment, Health and Safety officer, Rahul Dutt said that his team was working to preserve a very important identity of the Laucala Campus, which was the flora around campus. “Although we have a very diverse flora on campus, the replanting ensures the continuance of native and endemic tree species and other species that are directly and indirectly dependent on them,” Mr Dutt said. The indigenous plants that are selected for planting are locally known by the following names, Dilo, Tavola, Masiratu, Fiji Sago Palm, Kauvula, Yaka, Qumu, Damanu, Koka, Drala, Amunu, Waciwaci, Kuasi, Bua ni Viti, Vutuwai, Volau, Baumuri, Vesi. “These trees are large and strong rooted trees are native or endemic species, provide shade and are of cultural value to the Pacific Island countries,” Mr Dutt said. Thirteen trees have been planted by the university gardeners, so far and further replanting will recommence in two months when the rest of the seedlings are ready for planting.
Mr Dutt said that, where possible, USP was trying to complement the planting of trees listed in the Department of Forestry’s 25 priority species list.
Forestry officer at the Department of Forestry, Maika Daveta said that tree planting exercise was one of the many activities that the department had engaged in as part of its rehabilitation programme after Tropical Cyclone Winston. “We continue to advocate sustainable forestry management and replanting of trees as a way forward to solving issues such as climate change, timber production, food security, improving water quality, alleviating poverty and loss of biodiversity,” Mr Daveta said.
The seedlings for the tree replanting were supplied by the Fiji Department of Forestry. Source: University of the South Pacific