The Ridge to Reef project is holding talks with the communities of Hakupu and Liku to determine the way forward for the development of the Huvalu Forest Conservation Area by way of formalizing the area in addition to creating a management plan for the area.
According to the Director General for Ministry for Natural Resources Dr Josie Tamate, this conservation of Huvalu forest is not a new concept.
About 20 years ago, the Huvalu Conservation area was established but this time around, they want to formalize this and ensure sustainability.
Talks with the two key communities of Hakupu and Liku have started so the people from these villages can have their say on what they want for their conservation area and ways to ensure this is done properly.
Dr Tamate acknowledges capturing the interests of all users in the plan but also notes the increased use of the land and loss of biodiversity also begs the questions what vision do we have in the long term for generations and our environment.
On the much discussed topic of pigeon and bat hunting Dr Tamate maintains their position for the long term sustainable use of the resources noting while the number of pigeon and bat numbers have increased following the moratorium imposed following cyclone Heta, despite the growth the numbers don’t reflect their rich past.
She hopes generations can enjoy the resource into the future and not just have to read about what was once a traditional practice.
Ridge to Reef has commissioned the expertise of Brent Tegler, ecologist and protected areas specialist alongside Chief Technical Adviser to the Project Dave Butler, on the preparatory phase of the conservation project.
Tegler at their first session last Wednesday commended the process, issues and conservation targets already discussed.
Dr Tamate says that she is hopeful that community dialogue working with the experts’ advice, they will be able to present a Management Plan for the Huvalu Forest Conservation Area combining important primary forested areas of both Liku and Hakupu by the end of the year.