Toloa Rainforest Reserve
Conservation benefit: Protecting and restoring 52 acres of the Toloa Rainforest Reserve for 20 years
Community benefit: Information and Education Center
Nearly all of Tonga’s main island, Tongatapu, was once covered with lowland tropical rainforest. Now only fragments are left. Many Tongans have never seen some native trees that were once common and used for medicinal purposes, food, or to make dye for tapa cloth.
The Toloa Rainforest Reserve is the largest of these remaining patches. It contains more than 200 plant species and two threatened bird species (the Pacific pigeon and the red shining parrot). Large fruit bats, or flying foxes, are a common sight. The reserve has been heavily disturbed by human activities, however, and invasive plants and animals compete with natives throughout the forest.
Tupou College, a boys’ boarding school established in 1866, is committed to restoring the Toloa Rainforest Reserve to its natural state to the greatest extent possible. The school is the custodian of the reserve; the only entrance is through the campus, and teachers and students patrol the reserve. Since 2014, the school has worked to remove invasive plants and mammals, plant native trees, and raise public awareness. They have also built a trail through the reserve to facilitate guided tours.
A Seacology grant will be used to build an Information and Education Center on school grounds, which will display photos and information about the rainforest and provide facilities for visiting students. Our nonprofit partner is the Tonga Community Development Trust, which has worked with Seacology on several successful projects in Tonga.Full or partial funding for this project provided by