Conservation of Iconic Fijian Tree Species

A collaboration between the University of South Australia, Queensland University of Technology and NatureFiji-MareqetiViti (NFMV) to investigate the conservation status of 4 iconic, IUCN red-listed species endemic to Fiji using a multi-disciplinary approach.

Cynometra falcata

Cynometra falcata, a critically endangered legume that is endemic to Fijian tropical dry forest.

Fiji is a biodiversity hotspot of high conservation priority. There exists little data on the ecology or population genetics of Fijian plants and the IUCN redlist states that 97% of the 70 threatened terrestrial plant species need updating. Our project is generating ecological, genetic and biogeographic data for four threatened and iconic Fijian tree species (Cynometra falcata (Caesalpinaceae; critically endangered), Dacrydium nausoriense (Podocarpaceae; endangered), Degeneria vitiense (Degeneriaceae; Vulnerable), and Podocarpus affinis (Podocarpaceae; vulnerable) as examples for comprehensive conservation approaches.

The key aims are to

1) determine the current status and basic ecology of each species,

2) estimate genetic diversity, genetic connectivity, and fine-scale genetic structure of populations, and

3) systematically assess local conservation threats facing each population. Results will contribute new information to the conservation status of these species and will help to improve the assessment of conservation status in developing countries in general.

Dacrydium nausoriense

Dacrydium nausoriense, an endangered conifer that is endemic to Fiji.

The project is led by Gunnar Keppel (School of Natural and Built Environments, University of South Australia) and Peter Prentis (School of Earth, Environmental and Biological Sciences, Queensland University of Technology), with major contributions by Nunia Thomas (NatureFiji-MareqetiViti), Alifereti Naikatini (South Pacific Regional Herbarium, University of the South Pacific) and Isaac Rounds (Conservation International, Fiji).

Project Funding

The project has been funded ($40K) by the Australia-Pacific Science Foundation (APSF) and genetic work is ongoing.

For further information please contact Gunnar Keppel.

Areas of study and research

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