Project Category
Project Category
Project Description
Project Description
Vathe Conservation Area in Santo Island in Vanuatu, covering an area of 2,500ha lowland forest provides habitat for a diversity of wildlife, including six of Vanuatu s nine endemic bird species, one globally endangered species,and three vulnerable endemic bird species. 6 endemic skinks and 3 freshwater fish species are found in the area as well. The forest resources also provides important food, building, custom, medicinal and economic resources for the people of Matantas, Sara and surrounding villages. Black bean is harvested for sale, and the forest provides the main attraction for the tourist bungalows at Matantas. Vathe lowlandforest is threatened by an invasive vine, Merremia peltata (big leaf) which began spreading vigorously following three cyclones when it is now smoothering and killing large numbers of tall canopy trees. Approximately 2,300ha (92%) of Vathe forest has been invaded. Of this some 1,700ha are beyond the ability to control. Despite extensive searches through the Invasive Species networks and the Pacific Island Learning Network, we have not found anyone else attempting to control Merremia peltata over a large forest conservation area. Merremia is regularly controlled in agricultural situations using foliar spraying with glyphosate and cattle grazing, and in small-scale forestry plantations by hand-clearing, and in gardens by hand-clearing and burning. These methods are not practicable for a tall conservation forest canopy as such in VATHE. The project intends to trial low cost methods through develop local capacity to control Merremia, complete initial control by cutting, complete herbicide trials, develop an efficient herbicide application method, control approximately approximately 600ha by injecting herbicides into vine stems, spread awareness of the bio-cultural threats of invasive vines and will lead to the development of a long-term sustainable management regime, able to be undertaken by the Vathe and other Pacific Island landowners to control Merremia to a level that the forest can withstand.
Our Reference Number
Our Reference Number
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