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Our climate change

adaptation projects in the Pacific
© SPC
Our climate change
Our climate change
adaptation projects in the Pacific
© SPC
© SPC

The Tree of Life: Valuing the Coconut tree and its Ecological and Traditional Significance to the Nauruan People

 Nauru
The Tree of Life: Valuing the Coconut tree and its Ecological and Traditional Significance to the Nauruan People
Local Project
Rehabilation of coconut trees along the highway in Nauru
PC Tyrone Deiye-EcoNauru

  • Project name:
    Imin ira nin gatsimor (Tree of life)
  • Project Coordinator:
    Eco Nauru
  • Project Start:
    Sept 2023
  • Amount of funding:
    €51,446
  • Project leader:
     Local NGO and community network
  • Type of NbS:
    Management / Protection of terrestrial, coastal and marine ecosystems -  Restoration / Rehabilitation of terrestrial, coastal and marine ecosystems - Preservation of functional agricultural & forest ecosystems
  • Cobenefits:
    Food security - Human health -  Socio-economic resilience - Risk reduction - Biodiversity conservation

The coconut tree is a versatile tree that is quickly losing its value and purpose with the Nauruan people. With limited land space and an ever-growing population, the trees are being constantly cut down to allow space for the building of residential houses and other public infrastructure. Its multiple uses are being neglected by the people and the cutting down of a coconut tree is rapidly being socially accepted as opposed to historical times when each coconut tree was territorially protected by clans and tribes of each district. Coconut trees are taken for granted in Nauru in the sense that the reliance on modern-day packaged imports has become the normal way of life rendering the once-important tree almost obsolete. The purpose of this project is to rejuvenate the culture of traditionally using the coconut tree for multiple uses as historically practiced in the past.

Climate change projections indicate that Nauru will be facing prolonged droughts and unconventional intensified rainfall in the future2. This suggests that water will be less available for longer periods and that the intensity of rainfall will also increase but unpredictably so at times not traditionally known for.

Sea level and land surface temperatures are also expected to rise thus exposing the country, its people, natural wildlife, and flora to the impacts of intensified heat from direct sunlight and increased mean air temperatures, accelerated coastal erosion, coastal inundation, and storm surges, water scarcity, food security. The effects of these impacts would be: Health problems and malnutrition, Loss of coastal land, Loss of wildlife and flora, and Coral reef bleaching. Examples of the secondary and social effects would be Loss of culture, frequent disputes, and increased crime.

The coconut tree has stood the test of time and its resilience has proven to live throughout many ages. As an example, it provides Shaded cover from direct sunlight and a cooler environment, nutritional benefits in the coconuts which be harvested during droughts, and raw materials for building and weaving.

The purpose of this project is to rejuvenate the culture of traditionally using the coconut tree for multiple uses as historically practiced in the past. This goal will also provide opportunities for adaptation and measures against climate change.

The objective of the project?

● Objective 1: Increase coconut tree growth, supply, and distribution. Increase awareness and education on coconut tree practical benefits, and cultural values.
● Objective 2: Enhance technical and cultural skills for application and uses. Enable a regional network of communication through south-south cooperation.
● Objective 3: Incorporate climate change adaptation into methods of coconut tree use. Less coastal erosion , Increased shade and windbreaker protection for communities

Key activities by areas:

1. Climate change adaptation :
● Strategically identify climate change vulnerable areas which would benefit most from increased coconut tree planting.

2. Sustainable livelihoods :
● Workshop / Information sessions
● Practical hands-on training at established nursing site
● Publications and documentation of experiences, skills and traditional knowledge
● Create membership opportunities with other organizations (e.g Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environmental Programme, Coconut Industry Development for the Pacific, Secretariat of the Pacific Community etc..)


3. Sustainable resources management :
● Establish a nursing ground and facilities with the proper equipment to effectively grow various types of coconut trees (Local tall, Local red, Green dwarf, sweet husk, Pwe baron, long nut, Inur, Male coconuts, Female coconuts, and Hybrid coconuts).
● Recruit volunteers and local experts.
● Seed collection and soil profiling in key areas


4. Biodiversity :

5. Other(s) :
● Recruitment of volunteers and experts
● Facilitate workshops and public information sessions
● Media outreach programs through various mediums
● Various competitions

Info+

Sustainability is often subject to the successful implementation of initial efforts/pilot projects. If the project is successfully delivered, this will enhance Nauru’s resilience towards the negative impacts of climate change such as increased food security, healthier lifestyle due to the coconut tree’s medicinal properties, less dependence on imported products, cash crop opportunities, and restoration of cultural/traditional handicrafts. These are nature-based solutions that can be sustainably replicated through a balanced ecosystem services approach..

Climate change projections indicate that Nauru will be facing prolonged droughts and unconventional intensified rainfall in the future. This suggests that water will be less available for longer periods and that the intensity of rainfall will also increase but unpredictably so at times not traditionally known for. Sea level and land surface temperatures are also expected to rise thus exposing the country, its people, natural wildlife, and flora to the impacts of intensified heat from direct sunlight and increased mean air temperatures, accelerated coastal erosion, coastal inundation, and storm surges, water scarcity, food security.

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