| || || Prasad, Sunil Rajesh.|
| || || Identifying invertebrate representation within Fiji's future network of forest reserves|
Author:Prasad, Sunil Rajesh.
Institution: University of the South Pacific.
Call No.: pac In Process
Copyright:Under 10% of this thesis may be copied without the authors written permission
Abstract: Fiji’s biodiversity is rich with many species however many are threatened by loss of habitat and invasive species. In order to conserve its biodiversity Fiji needs to have a representative network of forest reserves. At present Fiji has 17 forest reserves and seven nature reserves totalling 319 km2, which is 1.7% of Fiji’s total land mass. According to Fiji’s NBSAP (1999) at least 10 % of the total land area should be set aside for conservation as a long-term sustainable measure. Fiji fails to meet this. Most of the existing reserves in Fiji have been set up without any proper biodiversity study of the area. This study focuses on using leaf litter invertebrates (weevil Curculionidae, harvestmen Opilione, Rove beetles Staphylinidae) as invertebrate biodiversity indicators in highlighting areas with high biodiversity conservation value. The leaf litter invertebrates were collected by sifting leaf litter from twenty 1m2 quadrats along a 100m transect. This was repeated three times at each site. The sites were standardised at 300m above sea level. The collected leaf litter was processed in Winkler bags for 48 hours after which the collected specimens were alpha sorted (separation of target taxa from other taxa and debris) followed by morphospecies sorting based on predetermined morphological characters. The morphospecies presence/absence and abundance data was used to subject the sites to Jaccard’s nearest neighbour similarity test and MDS Decorana plot analysis. The dissimilar sites were mapped to produce an Important Invertebrates Areas (IIAs) map, which was assessed against other important taxa areas (palms, angiosperms, heritage trees and other invertebrates). A high degree of overlap between the IIAs and other important taxa areas, and identification of important biodiversity areas within Fiji on a finer geographic scale suggested that the invertebrates used in this study were good biodiversity indicators.