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Conserving the Pacific Island’s unique trees: Terminalia richii and Manilkara samoensis in Samoa

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The sustainable management of diverse indigenous tree resources is a critical element in the maintenance of livelihoods in rural parts of the South Pacific islands, such as Samoa. Samoa’s lowland forests are in a degraded condition as a result of clearing for agricultural crops, intensive logging, severe cyclones and smothering of forest regeneration by the native vine, Merremia peltata. This paper reports on the development of species’ conservation and management strategies for two endemic Samoan tree species. Both tree species, Terminalia richii and Mailkara samoensis, are useful timber species but are endangered at the population level. Complementary in situ and ex situ conservation measures are detailed, together with progress in implementing them. The paper also elaborates two general recommendations which are considered important for the conservation of all tree species and to sustainable forest management in Samoa. These strategies were developed by the Forestry Division in consultation with relevant village communities and the support and technical advice of the SPRIG (South Pacific Regional Initiative on Forest Genetic Resources), a regional development assistance project. It is concluded that in Samoa, and other Pacific Islands nations, the majority of tree species will need to be conserved in managed native forests and conservation areas, managed by communities with technical advice and support from the relevant Government agencies.
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Keywords: Manilkara samoensis; SPRIG; Samoa; Terminalia richii; forest genetic resources

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Vailima Forest Research and Investigation Section, Forestry Division, MAFFM, PO Box 1874, Apia, Samoa. 2: West Savai’i Reforestation Project Forestry Division, MAFFM Asau, Savai’i, Samoa. 3: CSIRO Forestry and Forest Products, PO Box E4008, Kingston, Canberra, ACT 2604, Australia.

Publication date: December 1, 2002

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