Conservation benefit: Creation of an 87-acre no-take freshwater wetland forest in perpetuity
Community benefit: Visitors’ center, boardwalk, and waterway rehabilitation
Yela Valley contains the largest stand of Terminalia carolinensis (locally known as “Ka”) trees remaining in the world. The freshwater forested wetland in the Yela Valley is the heart of an unusually pristine tropical watershed extending from the ridgetop to the reef. In 2006, the traditional landowners formed a community-based organization called YELA (Yela Environment Landowners Authority) to locally manage this privately owned property as a “protected area” in Kosrae. The most interesting species for conservation in the area is the majestic Terminalia carolinensis itself. This remarkably intact forest also provides habitat for the endangered Micronesian pigeon (Ducula oceanica) and Mariana fruit bat (Pteropus mariannus).
To promote ecotourism in the area, Seacology is funding construction of a visitors’ center and a 265-foot boardwalk across the wetland, and clearing of key waterways to allow impact-free access to the forest area by boat. In exchange, the community will establish a 87-acre area as a no-take reserve in perpetuity.Full or partial funding for this project provided by
- June 2013
- This project is now completed. In the last phase of the project, a recreational center with cooking amenities was completed. The recreation center is complete and already in used by visitors. In...
- June 2012
- In the second phase of the project, a recreational center with cooking amenities has been completed. The recreation center is already in used by visitors. In addition to the visitor center, a 15...
- November 2011
- The first phase of construction of the Yela visitor center and boardwalk has been completed. The visitor center is a 20x24ft local house built with local materials that is already in service, even...
- June 2011
- The project contracts were signed and funds were transferred in March 2011.