Invasive vine control to protect bio-cultural and economic values in lowland forest in Vatthe Conservation Area.
Invasive vine control to protect bio-cultural and economic values in lowland forest in Vatthe Conservation Area.
Vathe Conservation Area in Santo Island in Vanuatu, covering an area of 2,500ha lowland forest provides habitat for a diversity of wildlife, including six of Vanuatu’s nine endemic bird species, one globally endangered species,and three vulnerable endemic bird species. 6 endemic skinks and 3 freshwater fish species are found in the area as well. The forest resources also provides important food, building, custom, medicinal and economic resources for the people of Matantas, Sara and surrounding villages. Black bean is harvested for sale, and the forest provides the main attraction for the tourist bungalows at Matantas. Vathe lowlandforest is threatened by an invasive vine, Merremia peltata (big leaf) which began spreading vigorously following three cyclones when it is now smoothering and killing large numbers of tall canopy trees. Approximately 2,300ha (92%) of Vathe forest has been invaded. Of this some 1,700ha are beyond the ability to control. Despite extensive searches through the Invasive Species networks and the Pacific Island Learning Network, we have not found anyone else
attempting to control Merremia peltata over a large forest conservation area. Merremia is regularly controlled in agricultural situations using foliar spraying with glyphosate and cattle grazing, and in small-scale forestry plantations by hand-clearing, and in gardens by hand-clearing and burning. These methods are not practicable for a tall conservation forest canopy as such in VATHE. The project intends to trial low cost methods through develop local capacity to control Merremia, complete initial control by cutting, complete herbicide trials, develop an efficient herbicide application method, control approximately approximately 600ha by injecting herbicides into vine stems, spread awareness of the bio-cultural threats of invasive vines and will lead to the development of a long-term sustainable management regime, able to be undertaken by the Vathe and other Pacific Island landowners to control Merremia to a level that the forest can withstand.
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Project Snapshot

Local conservation Initiative Project
Area Of Work:
Grant Amount:
US$ 50,000.00
Co-Financing Cash:
US$ 17,000.00
Co-Financing in-Kind:
US$ 63,084.00
Project Number:
Satisfactorily Completed
Project Characteristics and Results
Capacity - Building Component
Community will be involved in the trialed of methods and will actively particpate to monitor the impact of the eradication methods applied.
Emphasis on Sustainable Livelihoods
Eradication trial here if proven successful can help control the widespread of invasive vine species here in Vanuatu and the Pacific forest that people depended on for their livelihoods.
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Royal Birds and Forest society NZ

SGP Country office contact

Ms. Leah Silas Nimoho
678 26034
678 26034
Ms. Sherryl Mahina Ulufia


SGP-Vanuatu, UN Joint Presence Office,Rue Mercet, Reserve Bank of Vanuatu 4th Level
PORT VILA, South West Pacific, PMB 9096