Workshop to introduce the Kiwa Initiative to the communities
About 40 community members from the villages of Poutasi, Saleilua & Saaga on the south coast of Upolu attended a workshop on October 20 to celebrate together with the Forestry Division of MNRE, the continuation of Restoration work for the O Le Pupu Pue National Park. The restoration project for the park started in 2016 and was funded in 2018 under a UNDP SGP grant, and later under a US Forest Service Pacific Islands Forest Restoration Initiative (PIFRI) grant from 2020 -2021.
Since 2016 we have planted more than 25,000 trees in the park and restored around 10ha (25 acres) of degraded forest. The Samoa Conservation Society recently secured further funding for the next 18 months thanks to the Kiwa Initiative.
The workshop focused on the introduction of the Kiwa Initiative and how communities will benefit from the project. The Kiwa Initiative is a financial support for the O le Pupu Pu’e NP, the first National Park in Samoa and the South Pacific region. About 60% of the project’s budget will be focused on restoration work and the rest will be on the conservation of Samoan threatened species such as the Manumea, Samoa’s National Bird and the Niu vao, or endemic bush palm. The work is guided by the OLPP NP Management Plan (MNRE – 2016), the Mapping of fue lautetele (Merremia peltata) in the park and recommendations for management (Asia Air Survey 2014) and the Operational Plan for Park Restoration (MNRE 2010). Around 6% of the park, or about 240 Ha, is in need of restoration due to cyclone damage and the spread of invasive weeds, such as Fue lautetele.