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Fiji

Qumusea District

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Conservation benefit: Planting and protection of a 4,000-acre forest area for 20 years

Community benefit: Construction of a kindergarten

Date Approved: 01.2012

Forest

This project protects forest, preventing the release of greenhouse gases and reducing erosion that damages coastal and ocean ecosystems.

The Qumusea District is located on the north shore of Vanua Levu Island. The Great Sea Reef, the world’s third-largest barrier reef, is offshore. Four villages and four settlements in the district send their children to the Qumusea District School. The area surrounding the school and communities is about 70 percent deforested because of yearly brush fires. The fires are taking a toll on the environment of both land and sea, as erosion and sedimentation harm the reef and surrounding waters.

Local leaders wish to educate the community about the damage caused by the fires, and actively involve residents in planting trees and becoming stewards of the forest for the benefit of future generations. Working with the Forestry Department and with funding from the Nukubati Island Resort, they will set up a nursery at the school. The nursery will grow sandalwood trees, among other indigenous species. (Vanua Levu was known as “Sandalwood Island” until the species was decimated.) Community members will replant and protect 4,000 acres of forest, with a target of planting 50,000 trees over 20 years. They will be responsible for the trees, and will pledge to not burn or degrade the newly forested area.

In exchange for this reforestation and protection, Seacology is funding construction of a new kindergarten at the Qumusea School site.

Project Updates

June 2014

With the completion of the ablution block, the kindergarten is now fully compliant with the Rural Health Authorities requirements. The school committee has dedicated a 5,000 liter water tank for water storage and use by the kindergarten, with water from a nearby well and a water pump supplied by the nearby Nukubati Resort. Final reports have been submitted and approved, and the project is now complete.

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February 2014

A Seacology expedition visited the project in June 2013. Additional grant funds were released for a restroom block. The construction of the restrooms was pending permits, but should commence soon. Thousands of tree seedlings have been planted throughout the forest area.

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