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Paper Title: The Biological value of the Natewa Peninsula

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Paper Summary:

The Natewa Peninsula encompasses 55,000 ha of the south-eastern section of Vanua Levu, Fiji. The biodiversity of the Peninsula has an extremely high conservation value. Faunal groups in the Natewa Peninsula also display high incidence of endemism, with 31.3% of birds (15 species), 25% of herpetofauna (three species) 24% of butterflies (six species) 36.1% of gastropods (22 species) and 31% of trees (26 species) found here being entirely restricted to the Fijian archipelago. Numerous species are also very locally endemic to the study area, including the Natewa Silktail bird (Lamprolia klinesmithi) and the Natewa Swallowtail butterfly (Papilio natewa). The forests of Natewa provide valuable ecosystem services, both locally to communities living in the Peninsula via flood prevention, soil protection, and crop pollination, and also to global society through the carbon they sequester. The diverse ecological communities of the Natewa Peninsula are highly threatened by anthropogenic pressures, such as unregulated deforestation and forest degradation. Introduced Cane Toads, rodents, and the Small Indian Mongoose (Herpestes auropunctatus) also represent a serious threat to ground-nesting birds, reptiles, and other native wildlife. The urgent conservation status of biodiversity here is demonstrated by the number of threatened species present in the Natewa Peninsula. The surveys completed in the Natewa Peninsula to date clearly highlight the exceptional biological importance of the region. Priority targets for new survey protocols include macro-moths, dragonflies and orchids, an arachnid inventory, and a habitat classification scheme to allow for accurate stratified carbon stock estimates. Certain threatened species such as the critically endangered Fijian Monkey-faced Bat may also occur in the study area; verifying the presence of these as-yet-unconfirmed species is an important priority for future work.

Authors: Operation Wallacea

Journal: Operation Wallacea Report

Year: 2019

Read the full paper

If you would rather listen to the summary, check out episodes of our micro-podcast, Science Snacks, on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Google Podcasts.

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