Polynesia-micronesia biodiversity hotspot final draft for submission to the cepf donor council



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SYNOPSIS OF CURRENT INVESTMENTS 
This section outlines the current major investments and participants in biodiversity 
conservation in the hotspot and describes their strategic priorities and accomplishments. 
The synopsis of current investments is based on information from the following major 
sources: 
 

 
Asian Development Bank’s Draft Pacific Regional Environment Strategy (ADB 
2003); 

 
CEPF Roundtable Reports for Fiji (Olson and Farley 2003), Micronesia 
(Manner 2003), West Polynesia (Sesega 2003) and French Polynesia (Raust 
2003); 

 
46
 
 

 
Pacific Islands Roundtable Inventory of Conservation Action (http://www.dev-
zone.net/pirnc/); 

 
Websites of several organizations including UNDP, SPREP, TNC, WWF-SPP, 
AFD, and others; 

 
Communications with a range of donors, NGOs, and individuals. 
 
Overall investments within the region occur at two scales: 
 
1)
 
Regional-level investments are programs and projects executed by a regional or 
international organization and covering a number of countries in the region. 
2)
 
Country-level assistance denotes those projects executed within countries either 
by government agencies or local NGOs. Funds for these projects are received 
directly by the executing agency in country. 
 
Across the hotspot, the majority of the bilateral and regional investments include 
institutional strengthening, climate change and adaptation, energy, infrastructural 
development, natural resource management, especially fisheries management, and 
biodiversity conservation. For example, the MacArthur Foundation has made several 
investments promoting community-based marine management in the South Pacific 
region, establishing the University of the South Pacific as the focal point for the locally 
managed marine area network.  
 
The Australian government’s Regional Natural Heritage Program (RNHP) recently 
supported CEPF in rolling out a series of pilot projects to prevent, control, and eradicate 
invasive species in key biodiversity areas in the hotspot. Titled Local Action, Local 
Results: CEPF Invasive Alien Species Program for the Key Biodiversity Sites of the 
Polynesia & Micronesia Hotspot, Pacific Island Nations, this initiative supported a series 
of complementary research and demonstration projects that were guided by technical 
advice from the Pacific Invasives Initiative.  
 
These projects in eight countries addressed conservation outcomes in seven key 
biodiversity areas and 10 globally threatened species. Rat eradications were successfully 
conducted on two islands and detailed plans to perform eradications and control programs 
were prepared for another eight islands. Community engagement and support for this 
program were significant and the awareness of the threat of invasive species in the region 
was improved significantly, including rats, myna birds, yellow crazy ants and red fire 
ants, invasive mosquitoes, rabbits, and invasive weeds such as Merremia peltata.  
 
At the national scale the data accrued are incomplete, especially for some of the smaller 
political units, for which few data were available. The threat of climate change and its 
significant local impacts lead the GEF to support the Kiribati Adaptation Program as well 
as a series of national capacity needs self-assessments.  
 
Given the dispersion of such information, developing and maintaining an up-to-date 
register of regional and national investments will be a role of the regional implementation 

 
47
 
 
team in conjunction with organizations such as Pacific Islands Roundtable Inventory of 
Conservation Action. 
 
Analysis of Current Investments 
Due to the gaps in available information, it is not possible to analyze comprehensively 
the geographic spread of investments and activity in biological conservation or to make a 
thorough assessment of the dollar value of investments made in various areas of 
biodiversity conservation. 
 
In terms of the geographic spread of investments, Fiji has the largest number of 
biodiversity conservation projects in the hotspot (excluding Hawaii). This should not be 
surprising considering Fiji is the biggest and most developed independent hotspot country 
eligible for CEPF funds. Very few biodiversity conservation activities are occurring in 
the smaller pacific island counties such as Niue, Tokelau, and Tuvalu. 
 
In terms of the thematic spread of funding, the following thematic areas are where 
funding has been focused:  
(1)
 
Resource management – a focus on forests, non-forest products and fisheries 
resources; 
(2)
 
Ecosystem conservation – a focus on coral reefs, marine and coastal areas 
including mangroves and wetlands; 
(3)
 
Species research and conservation – a focus on threatened bird, whale and turtle 
conservation; 
(4)
 
Invasive species – invasive species management projects in Cook Islands, Fiji, 
French Polynesia, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Palau, Samoa, 
Tokelau and Tonga; 
(5)
 
Biodiversity conservation planning – NBSAPs in most countries and ecoregional 
planning in two. 
 
As stated in the ADB (2003) Regional Environmental Strategy, “it is clear that little 
progress will be made if biodiversity conservation continues to be viewed as an 
“environmental” issue. Conservation efforts must help to reduce poverty, enhance food 
security and provide obvious links between the establishment of sustainable livelihoods 
and the protection of species and ecosystems. This is fundamental to the mainstreaming 
of environmental considerations—including conservation—at the national and regional 
levels.” This is a critical point to consider in CEPF’s investment. 
 
Resource Management 
Sustainable resource management is the biggest single component of environmental 
assistance in the Pacific region, including the management of agricultural, marine, forest 
and other natural resources (ADB 2003). The community-based approach pioneered by 
the South Pacific Biodiversity Conservation Program (SPBCP) continues to be the 
preferred approach in the way area and resource management interventions are made. 
Engaging the local communities from the outset and paying due respect to the culture, 
traditions and tenure has been underscored by the projects funded by the RNHP funds. 
 

 
48
 
 
The major areas of assistance are in sustainable forest management and coastal fisheries 
and marine resource management. Large forest resource management projects have been 
funded at the regional level by GEF, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische 
Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) and by AusAID and in Fiji, by USAID.  
 
In terms of marine and coastal resource management, one of the most significant regional 
programs is the Strategic Action Plan for International Waters and the Pacific Islands 
Oceanic Fisheries Management Project. These GEF-funded programs actively engage 
local communities as partners in managing coastal resources and watershed areas.  
 
Ecosystem Conservation 
There is little emphasis in establishing strict “protected areas” such as parks and reserves 
in most countries in the hotspot. New additions to the region’s protected area network are 
mainly through community-based conservation areas promoting conservation through 
sustainable resource use. CBCAs have had some success in curbing the over-harvest of 
resources in many islands and this trend is set to continue based on recent successful 
experiences in several places. However, seriously threatened endemic species and 
ecosystems demanding strict protection may not always be adequately protected in the 
CBCAs.  
 
Terrestrial ecosystem conservation is not well supported at a regional level in the hotspot, 
and few initiatives exist to protect terrestrial areas of regional or global significance. One 
exception is the Sovi Basin Nature Reserve and endowment fund in Fiji. The Global 
Conservation Fund has supported the establishment of the Nature Reserve and the 
development of a village trust fund for the management of the reserve and to support 
village development efforts. 
 
The only regional terrestrial conservation program to speak of, aside from ad hoc support 
for ex-SPBCP projects came under the recent RNHP program through CEPF. However, 
there is continuing interest and funding for coastal ecosystems and coral reef 
conservation in many parts of the hotspot as evidenced by the French-funded Coral Reef 
Initiative for the South Pacific (CRISP), the Moore Foundation-funded Marine Managed 
Areas Science program, and support from CI’s Global Conservation Fund for creation of 
the Phoenix Islands Protected Area in Kiribati. 
  
On 18 August 2006, the World Heritage Centre approved the Phoenix Islands inclusion 
on Kiribati’s Tentative List during the Cabinet meeting (No. 37/2006). This was largely 
the result of efforts by the Kiribati Ministry of Environment and Social Development 
with support provided by Conservation International and the New England Aquarium. 
 
Of the 14 countries in the Polynesia-Micronesia Hotspot eligible for CEPF grants, only 
Fiji has a specific indicative allocation under the GEF’s new Resource Allocation 
Framework. The amount tentatively indicated for Fiji is $5.1 million over the next four 
years. All the other small Pacific island states are part of the “group allocation” of $146.8 
million, which will be divided among 93 countries not receiving a specific amount. While 
none of these allocations is guaranteed, they all will be made to governments, and the 

 
49
 
 
prospect of funds reaching civil society organizations is small. The average amount 
available to countries in the group allocation is about $1.6 million through phase four of 
the GEF. While CEPF investments will need to be closely coordinated with the specific 
decisions about spending GEF funds in this region, the potential overlap is small.  
 
Species Research and Conservation 
There are relatively few terrestrial species research and conservation efforts in the 
hotspot. Furthermore, current efforts focus on birds with few initiatives targeting the 
conservation of other highly threatened groups especially flying foxes, land snails and 
plants. In addition, much of the terrestrial species conservation effort is being conducted 
in only two countries- Fiji and French Polynesia, with relatively little species 
conservation work occurring in the smaller countries, especially the atoll states. A similar 
geographic focus exists with respect to research into species populations, distribution, 
threats and conservation requirements. 
 
In Fiji, WCS has coordinated a number of research and conservation projects on some of 
the more threatened endemic species, such as the crested iguana, giant long horn beetles 
and landsnails. Much of the research is being conducted with the assistance of University 
of the South Pacific students. In French Polynesia, a number of biotic surveys and 
biogeographical studies have been conducted in recent years, much of it coordinated by 
the Délégation à la Recherche (the research division of the Environment Ministry) in 
collaboration with a number of partners. Examples of recent plant research include the 
preparation of the Flora of French Polynesia (Florence, 1997), the Vascular Flora of the 
Marquesas, studies into the impact of Miconia calvescens and other invasive plants on 
native flora (e.g., Meyer and Florence, 1996), scientific expeditions to assess the 
terrestrial biodiversity of the Austral Islands, botanical field-trips in the Society Islands 
and conservation plans for protected plants. Most of the research remains unpublished 
(Meyer, pers.comm, 2004). At the current time, the Délégation is working on a revised 
list of threatened plants in French Polynesia, the exact location of their populations, and 
current threats. Other taxonomic groups well studied in French Polynesia include the 
freshwater fish and crustacea (Keith, P. et al 2002), land snails (Cowie et al and Coote et 
al) and terrestrial arthropods (Gillespie, R.G. et al).  
 
A conservation program is being developed by the Zoological Society of London with 
local partners on the highly threatened land snail fauna of French Polynesia, but no major 
land snail conservation programs have been conducted anywhere else. Plant conservation 
initiatives show a similar pattern. There is a regional AusAID funded project on the 
conservation of forest genetic resources, but this only targets species of high timber value 
and not other plant species or native ecosystems in the hotspot region.  
 
BirdLife International’s Pacific IBA program is a key regional bird conservation 
program. The project aims to build NGO capacity, perform research and initiate 
community based conservation action through their well-established IBA process. The 
program is based in Fiji and has funds for work in Fiji, Palau, New Caledonia and French 
Polynesia from 2003 to 2007. There are a number of small bird conservation projects 
being coordinated in Fiji (by WCS and others) in French Polynesia (mostly by SOP-

 
50
 
 
Manu) and in Samoa (coordinated by the Ministry of Environment with support from CI 
and funding from RNHP). The bulk of these projects target conservation, translocation 
and habitat restoration (such as control of invasives) of critically endangered bird species 
especially monarch, pigeon and ground dove species. 
 
A number of regional and national species conservation projects target marine mammals 
and turtle species with the result that terrestrial species conservation efforts in general, 
and flying fox, plant and land snail conservation in particular, represent a significant 
funding gap.  
 
Invasive Species 
Invasive alien species are well documented to be one of the major threats to biodiversity 
in the hotspot. While a number of global and regional initiatives conduct research on 
invasive species, disseminate knowledge and skills on invasives and develop new 
techniques for invasives control, relatively few projects currently underway for actively 
eradicating or controlling invasive species in the hotspot. Rat control projects have begun 
on a number of islands with important bird populations, especially in the Cook Islands, 
Fiji, French Polynesia, Tonga and Samoa. Brown tree snake control, eradication and 
prevention projects in Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas are being 
coordinated by the U.S. Forest Service. Some research into the impact of other predators, 
such as the impact of the mongoose and cane toad in outer Fiji islands, is underway. With 
regard to the control of plant invaders, very few projects exist other than an ongoing 
program on a number of islands in French Polynesia targeting Miconia calvascens and a 
few small weed control projects in Samoa, Fiji, FSM and elsewhere. 
 
SPREP is executing a regional invasive species program titled Pacific Invasive Learning 
Network (PILN) that focuses on conducting training workshops in different sub regions 
along with pilot projects such as offshore island weed and rat eradication in Samoa and 
testing of mynah control and eradication techniques. The project aims to build Pacific 
Island country and territory capacity to control, prevent and eradicate priority invasive 
species through strengthening national legal and institutional frameworks to prevent the 
arrival of new invasive species and through improving individual and collective 
understanding, skills and organization. The project will also undertake some customized 
island restoration activities. However, given the scale of the threat posed by invasive 
species, the fact that the GEF project requires co-financing for project implementation 
and that it will not include the French Territories, Pitcairn Islands, Tokelau and Easter 
Island, there is still significant scope for CEPF investment in this area. 
 
An important new initiative relating to invasive species is the pilot Pacific Invasives 
Learning Network (PILN). This initiative aims to empower more effective invasive 
species management through a participatory driven network of conservation area 
managers. PILN, which held the inaugural meeting in Palau in May 2006 has created a 
network to foster the development of innovative and adaptive approaches to invasive 
species, help prevent, detect and respond rapidly to invasives and serves as a learning 
vehicle and peer review of practitioner’s work. The network is a partnership venture with 

 
51
 
 
TNC taking the operational lead, but with SPREP, the Pacific Invasive Initiative, and the 
Invasive Species Specialist Group of IUCN as partners. 
 
Biodiversity Conservation Planning 
Many countries in the hotspot have undertaken national biodiversity strategies and 
actions and are in the midst of implementing add-on projects emanating from these plans. 
These have been driven by obligations under the CBD and supported by funding received 
through the GEF. Most of these planning documents are general in nature and are 
strategic only within the context of national priorities. Funding received through existing 
sources may well contribute to the protection of species and areas of national significance 
but may not necessarily contribute to regional or international conservation priorities. 
However, TNC’s pilot ecoregional planning project in FSM (and another underway in 
Palau) should contribute significantly to conservation planning for terrestrial biodiversity 
in Micronesia. SPREP has also formulated with its member countries regional strategies 
for invasive species and birds but need funding to implement priority actions. 
 
Pacific Biological Survey 
A major constraint to biodiversity conservation planning at all levels is the lack of up-to-
date information on the status of the region’s biodiversity. NZAID has contributed to the 
development of the Cook Islands biodiversity database and Samoa has developed a 
similar database and undertaken an ecosystem mapping exercise including the 
identification of priorities for conservation. However, few countries in the region have 
thorough biodiversity inventories or databases and even fewer have current data on the 
conservation status of threatened species. Furthermore, data that does exist is scattered 
widely in museum collections, in the scientific literature and elsewhere, making it 
difficult to access and use. 
 
Recognizing the lack of up-to-date information on the region’s biodiversity and 
difficulties in accessing it has led to the development of the Pacific Biological Survey by 
the Pacific Science Association. The Survey will include regional biological inventories 
and taxonomic capacity building (Allison pers.comm. 2003). The survey will be modeled 
on the highly successful Hawaii Biological Survey and will involve developing 
comprehensive web accessible bibliographic databases, comprehensive species 
checklists, development of species databases and improved interconnection among them, 
along with the use of literature and specimen databases to identify research and survey 
priorities. Survey data will be linked with U.S. National Biological Information 
Infrastructure (NBII)/Pacific Basin Information Node (PBIN). PBIN will seek to 
integrate data for the region and to make data available to a wide range of users over the 
internet (Allison, 2003). PABITRA will provide the ecosystem framework for the Pacific 
Biological Survey (Mueller-Dombois, pers. comm., 2004) while the Bishop Museum will 
be the executing agency (Eldredge, pers.comm, 2004). 
 
GEF Small Grants Program for the Pacific 
The GEF Small Grants Program (SGP) for the Pacific follows on from the successful 
implementation of SGPs in other regions. The Pacific program has established programs 
in Fiji, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, and Samoa. The SGP awards grants of up to 

 
52
 
 
$50,000 to NGOs and community-based organizations to deliver global environmental 
benefits in the areas of biodiversity conservation, climate change mitigation, protection of 
international waters, prevention of land degradation (primarily desertification and 
deforestation), and elimination of persistent organic pollutants through community-based 
approaches. 
 
CEPF NICHE FOR INVESTMENT 
The purpose of the CEPF investment niche is to define explicitly what CEPF is best 
placed to target in CEPF eligible countries in the hotspot. Niche development was based 
on an analysis of information gathered as part of the profile preparation phase. It should 
be noted that while information from all countries in the hotspot has been compiled, the 
analysis of information has been conducted within the context of the geographic 
prioritization dictated by CEPF eligibility.  
 
Three major themes have been analyzed to define the niche for the Polynesia-Micronesia 
Hotspot: species and site outcomes; major threats to Endangered species; and current 
environmental investments together with national and regional conservation strategies. A 
number of overarching factors have emerged from this analysis and have contributed to 
the definition of the niche for CEPF investment in this hotspot.  
 
Conservation Outcomes 
One of the primary factors in defining the niche is the determination of globally 
threatened species and site outcomes and a defined subset of these that CEPF investment 
will tackle. Since CEPF funding will only be available for conservation activity in the 15 
eligible political units in the hotspot, species, and site outcomes have only been prepared 
for these political units. Species outcomes have then been prioritized based on the degree 
of threat to the species, whether the species requires special attention such as the control 
of invasives or harvesting (species focused actions), and the taxonomic distinctiveness of 
the species. Site outcomes have been prioritized based on whether the site is irreplaceable 
(contains species found in no other site), on the number of single site endemics in the site, 
and the alien-free status of the site. 
 
An analysis of globally threatened species in the hotspot reveals three major findings. 
The first is that our knowledge of the biodiversity of the hotspot is very patchy, 
incomplete, and not well managed. Data are especially incomplete in terms of geographic 
distribution, taxonomic representation and in particular, population status of threatened 
species. The taxonomic groups that are least well-studied include the invertebrates, fish, 
and plants, while the geographic deficiency is greatest for the small, isolated islands, 
especially those in the less wealthy countries of the hotspot. The second major finding is 
that terrestrial species and ecosystem conservation are not currently well-supported in the 
region. Despite the urgency, there is little current investment in the protection of 
numerous and highly threatened terrestrial areas of regional or global significance. 
Greater emphasis is needed on the conservation of the most viable and least disturbed 
natural ecosystems, such as the larger forest blocks, based on sound conservation biology 
principles. A third finding is that the practice of conservation through conventional forms 
of protected areas throughout the Pacific Islands region appears to have been largely 

 
53
 
 
ineffective, having historically been applied without due respect for customary land and 
resource tenure, traditional practices and rights. Recent experience indicates that co-
management of protected areas by communities and government or an NGO are more 
effective than conventional approaches but need to include a strong communication and 
environmental awareness strategy to be successful.  
 
Significant opportunity therefore exists for CEPF to: 

 
support action-oriented biodiversity research that has a clear management objective;  

 
improve the conservation of threatened terrestrial species, especially those that are 
most endangered, require species-focused action and are taxonomically distinctive; 

 
improve the conservation of threatened habitats and ecosystems, especially critical 
refugia that that are irreplaceable, distinctive, and have good viability and potential 
for persistence; and 

 
build upon recent participatory efforts for the co-management of conservation areas 
involving both government and civil society.  
 
Significant Threats  
As noted, the terrestrial biodiversity of the Polynesia-Micronesia Hotspot is among the 
most highly threatened in the world, especially when calculated per unit of land area or 
per capita. Oceania as a whole has had the greatest number of species extinctions of any 
region of the world since 1600 and many more taxa are on the verge of extinction. 
Furthermore, only about 20 percent of the vegetation remains in a natural state, the rest is 
highly degraded. The major threats to Pacific biota are anthropogenic and include 
invasive alien species, habitat alteration and loss, destructive harvesting, and the over-
exploitation of natural resources.  
 
Of all the threats, targeting invasive species is one of the most important areas of activity. 
There are a number of global and regional projects that have focused on researching
gathering, and disseminating information on invasive species but relatively little funding 
has been available for island restoration activities in the hotspot. A regional strategy that 
addresses invasive species has been developed, and a major GEF-funded program 
targeting invasive species, is about to commence. However, the GEF-funded program 
will focus on strengthening national legal and institutional frameworks rather than 
invasive species control and will not be executed in all countries in the hotspot. There are 
therefore significant opportunities for CEPF to complement and support existing 
initiatives, especially in countries not covered by the GEF program such as the French 
territories.  
 
There are good opportunities for CEPF to: 

 
support targeted efforts to implement components of the regional invasive species 
strategy, specifically where it will secure protection for a subset of the species and 
site outcomes; 

 
promote community-based invasive species control projects and activities that 
provide rural employment and alleviate poverty, similar to those used by the 
“Working for Water” project in South Africa; and 

 
54
 
 

 
promote collaborative arrangements between the Invasive Species Specialist Group, 
the Global Invasive Species Program, the Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk project, 
SPREP’s Invasive Species program, the pilot Pacific Island Invasives Learning 
Network,
 
and several NGOs that hold significant scientific and technical expertise 
for this effort in the Pacific region. 
 
Current Investments and Strategies 
CEPF’s support to civil society efforts will operate within the context and framework of 
existing and planned regional, national, and local investments in biodiversity 
conservation. There are a number of such efforts in the hotspot. Efforts at the national 
level included the development of National Environmental Management Strategies in the 
1990s, and more recently the preparation of National Biodiversity Strategies and Action 
Plans in many hotspot countries. The latter form a blueprint for national conservation 
action in each country. At the regional level, the major strategic effort is the 2003-2007 
Pacific Islands Action Strategy for Nature Conservation. The theme of the current 
strategy is the mainstreaming of nature conservation into all development sectors 
involving partnerships between conservationists, governments, the private sector, and 
civil society. The strategy has the support of Pacific Island countries, SPREP, donors, and 
the regional NGO community.  
 
An analysis of current investments and strategies indicates that significant 
implementation gaps remain in a number of areas. While there are many existing national 
and regional conservation strategies, the strategies need much stronger support for 
implementation. Terrestrial conservation efforts in general and species and site 
conservation efforts in particular, are chronically under-funded. The taxonomic groups 
that have been least well supported include the flying foxes, land snails, and plants. There 
are therefore significant opportunities for CEPF to complement existing strategies and 
support under-funded components that target biodiversity outcomes.  
 
Major Action Strategy objectives that CEPF is well-placed to target include: 

 
the strengthening of conservation networks and partnerships, especially institutional 
capacity and community support essential for long-term conservation; 

 
empowering local people, communities, and institutions to effectively participate in 
decisionmaking and action; 

 
raising awareness and promoting conservation values; 

 
increasing the number of areas under effective conservation management;  

 
safeguarding and restoring threatened species of ecological or cultural significance;   

 
controlling the spread of invasive species and preventing new introductions; and 

 
improving knowledge and understanding of the state of the Pacific’s environment 
and biodiversity. 
 
CEPF Niche 
The niche of CEPF in the Polynesia-Micronesia Hotspot will be to catalyze action by 
civil society to counteract threats to biodiversity, especially from invasive species, in key 
biodiversity areas in the Polynesia-Micronesia Hotspot. The geographic focus for CEPF 

 
55
 
 
intervention in the hotspot will be on CEPF eligible countries only. The three primary 
strategic directions are: 

 
prevent, control and eradicate invasive species in key biodiversity areas;  

 
improve the conservation status and management of a prioritized set of key 
biodiversity areas; and 

 
Build awareness and participation of local leaders and community members in 
the implementation of protection and recovery plans for threatened species. 
 
A fourth strategic direction is to provide strategic leadership and effective coordination of 
CEPF investment through a regional implementation team and therefore complements the 
three primary strategic directions. 
 
The CEPF niche has been developed with the understanding that levels of funding 
support will vary according to absorptive capacity of local civil society and partners, 
prioritization of the species and site outcomes, political climate, biodiversity assessments, 
and other key factors likely to change over the course of CEPF investment. 
 
CEPF INVESTMENT STRATEGY AND PROGRAM FOCUS 
 
Priority Outcomes for CEPF Investment 
The 244 species and 161 sites defined for this hotspot are far too many for a single 
investment program to handle alone. Therefore, species and site outcomes were 
prioritized for CEPF investment. It is hoped that other conservation funds and 
organizations will provide funding to achieve the remaining species and site outcomes to 
complement CEPF investments.  
 
Species Prioritization 
The species that are in most need of conservation action were prioritized into one of six 
categories based on the following three major criteria: 
 

 
Need for species-focused action. Species that require species-focused action such as 
the control of invasive species or harvesting, in addition to the conservation of 
habitat, are given a higher priority than species for which habitat conservation is the 
main activity required.  

 
Red List Category. Species were prioritized based on the degree of threat as 
determined by the IUCN Red List. High priority was given to Critically Endangered 
species, medium priority to Endangered species, and lower priority to Vulnerable 
species. There are 92 Critically Endangered species eligible for CEPF funds. 

 
Taxonomic distinctiveness. This is a measure of how unique a species is relative to 
other species. For example, species that are the only member of their entire family or 
even of their genus are more taxonomically distinct than species in very large families 
or genera. In this prioritization analysis, taxonomically unique species were 
considered have a higher priority than less unique species in large genera and families 
(the methodology for calculating taxonomic distinctiveness is shown in Appendix 4); 
 

 
56
 
 
The methodology for prioritizing species was as follows. First species requiring species-
focused action were identified. Those that are Critically Endangered are a priority one, 
while those that are Endangered are a priority two, and those that are Vulnerable are a 
priority three. Within each priority group, species were prioritized based on taxonomic 
distinctiveness. Species that are not known to require species-focused action, but rather 
can be best conserved by protecting the sites in which they occur, were also given a 
priority ranking. However, those species did not make the final list of species priorities, 
considering that CEPF investment in the region will be limited and there are many highly 
threatened species in need of species-focused action.  
 
Based on this objective analysis, a total of 41 species were classified as priority one and 
26 as priority two – these were selected as priorities for CEPF investment and are 
presented in Table 7. Five species do not have globally significant populations in the 
hotspot (i.e. more than 20 percent of the global population), and were not considered in 
the prioritization. It should be noted that given limitations in data availability and quality, 
the prioritization is an initial attempt and may change as more accurate data become 
available. 
 
Table 7. Priorities for Species-Specific Investment by CEPF 
 
Scientific Name  Common Name 
Class 
Threat 
Status 
Taxonomic 
Distinctiveness

Priority 
Rank 
PLANTS 
Erythrina 
tahitensis 
 Magnoliopsida 
CR 
0.006 

Glochidion 
comitum 
 Magnoliopsida 
EN 
0.002 

Glochidion 
papenooense 
 Magnoliopsida 
CR 
0.002 

Hernandia temarii   Magnoliopsida 
CR 
0.031 

Lebronnecia 
kokioides 
 Magnoliopsida 
EN 
0.667 

Lepinia taitensis   Magnoliopsida 
CR 
0.222 

Myrsine hartii 
 Magnoliopsida 
CR 
0.004 

Myrsine longifolia   Magnoliopsida 
CR 
0.004 

Myrsine 
ronuiensis 
 Magnoliopsida 
CR 
0.004 

Pisonia 
graciliscens 
 Magnoliopsida 
CR 
0.017 

Polyscias 
tahitensis 
 Magnoliopsida 
CR 
0.004 

Psychotria grantii   Magnoliopsida 
CR 
0.0007 

Psychotria 
speciosa 
 Magnoliopsida 
CR 
0.0007 

Psychotria 
tahitensis 
 Magnoliopsida 
CR 
0.0007 

Psychotria 
trichocalyx 
 Magnoliopsida 
CR 
0.0007 


 
57
 
 
Scientific Name  Common Name 
Class 
Threat 
Status 
Taxonomic 
Distinctiveness

Priority 
Rank 
Rauvolfia 
sachetiae 
 Magnoliopsida 
CR 
0.011 

ANIMALS 
Platymantis 
vitiana 
 Fijian ground frog 
Amphibia 
EN 
0.017 

Aplonis pelzelni 
 Pohnpei mountain 
starling 
Aves CR 
0.028  1 
Charmosyna 
amabilis 
 red-throated lorikeet 
Aves 
EN 
0.048 

Didunculus 
strigirostris 
 tooth-billed pigeon 
Aves 
EN 
0.667 

Ducula aurorae 
 Polynesian pigeon 
Aves 
EN 
0.02 

Ducula galeata 
 Marquesas pigeon 
Aves 
CR 
0.02 

Gallinula pacifica   Samoan woodhen 
Aves 
CR 
0.074 

Gymnomyza 
samoensis 
 Mao honeycatcher 
Aves 
EN 
0.222 

Gallicolumba 
rubescens 
 Marquesas ground 
dove 
Aves EN 
0.037  2 
Gallicolumba 
erythroptera 
 Polynesian ground dove Aves 
CR 
0.037 

Megapodius 
laperouse 
 Micronesian megapode Aves 
EN 
0.053 

Megapodius 
pritchardii 
 Niuafo’ou megapode 
Aves 
CR 
0.053 

Metabolus 
rugensis 
 Truk monarch 
Aves 
EN 
0.667 

Pomarea 
dimidiata 
 Rarotonga flycatcher 
Aves 
EN 
0.111 

Pomarea 
mendozae 
 Marquesas flycatcher 
Aves 
EN 
0.111 

Pomarea nigra 
 Tahiti flycatcher 
Aves 
CR 
0.111 

Pomarea whitneyi  Fatuhiva flycatcher 
Aves 
CR 
0.111 

Prosobonia 
cancellata 
 Tuamotu sandpiper 
Aves 
EN 
0.333 

Pseudobulweria 
macgillivrayi 
 Fiji petrel 
Aves 
CR 
0.223 

Pterodroma atrata  Henderson petrel 
Aves 
EN 
0.023 

Rukia ruki 
 Faichuk white-eye 
Aves 
CR 
0.222 

Todiramphus 
godeffroyi 
 Marquesas kingfisher 
Aves 
EN 
0.032 

Vini kuhlii 
 Kuhl's lorikeet 
Aves 
EN 
0.133 

Vini ultramarina 
 Ultramarine lorikeet 
Aves 
EN 
0.133 

Mautodontha 
ceuthma 
 Gastropoda 
CR 
0.056 

Partula calypso 
 Gastropoda 
CR 
0.008 

Partula clara 
 Gastropoda 
CR 
0.008 

Partula emersoni   Gastropoda 
CR 
0.008 

Partula filosa 
 Gastropoda 
CR 
0.008 


 
58
 
 
Scientific Name  Common Name 
Class 
Threat 
Status 
Taxonomic 
Distinctiveness

Priority 
Rank 
Partula 
guamensis 
 Gastropoda 
CR 
0.008 

Partula hyalina 
 Gastropoda 
CR 
0.008 

Partula leucothoe   Gastropoda 
CR 
0.008 

Partula 
martensiana 
 Gastropoda 
CR 
0.008 

Partula otaheitana  Gastropoda 
CR 
0.008 

Partula rosea 
 Gastropoda 
CR 
0.008 

Partula thetis 
  
Gastropoda 
CR 
0.008 

Partula varia 
  
Gastropoda 
CR 
0.008 

Samoana 
annectens 
  
Gastropoda 
EN 
0.03 

Samoana 
attenuate 
  
Gastropoda 
EN 
0.03 

Samoana 
diaphana 
  
Gastropoda 
EN 
0.03 

Samoana solitaria   
Gastropoda 
EN 
0.03 

Thaumatodon 
hystricelloides 
  
Gastropoda 
EN 
0.067 

Emballonura 
semicaudata 
 Polynesian sheathtail-
bat 
Mammalia EN 0.02 

Pteropus insularis  Chuuk flying-fox 
Mammalia 
CR 
0.011 

Pteropus 
mariannus 
 Marianas flying-fox 
Mammalia 
EN 
0.011 

Pteropus 
molossinus 
 Caroline flying-fox 
Mammalia 
CR 
0.011 

Pteropus 
phaeocephalus 
 Mortlock flying-fox 
Mammalia 
CR 
0.011 

Brachylophus 
fasciatus 
 banded iguana 
 
Reptilia EN 
0.335 

Brachylophus 
vitiensis 
 crested iguana 
Reptilia 
CR 
0.335 

Chelonia mydas   green turtle 
Reptilia 
EN 
0.343 

Eretmochelys 
imbricata 
 hawksbill turtle 
Reptilia 
CR 
0.676 

 * Taxonomic distinctiveness is a composite calculation based on the number of species in a genus and the 
global number of species and genera in a family. For the full methodology please refer to Appendix 4.
 
 
Site Prioritization 
To focus the investment of CEPF in the Polynesia-Micronesia Hotspot, a prioritization of 
the key biodiversity areas was undertaken. The 162 sites were prioritized based on the 
criteria of irreplaceability and vulnerability. Due to a lack of comprehensive threat data 
for each site, the threat status of species found within the site was used as a proxy for 
vulnerability. An explicit aim of this analysis was to make sure that all irreplaceable sites 
were captured among the priorities, which must attract the attention of the global 
conservation community in order to prevent biodiversity loss. The following step-wise 
process was used to identify the irreplaceable sites.  

 
59
 
 
 
1.
 
Identify key biodiversity areas containing Critically Endangered or Endangered 
species restricted to those sites (33 sites).  
2.
 
Identify key biodiversity areas, not listed above, containing Critically Endangered 
or Endangered species restricted to only two sites (14 additional sites). 
3.
 
Identify key biodiversity areas, not listed above, containing Vulnerable species 
listed for only one site (13 additional sites). Given that a few of the Vulnerable 
species recorded for only one key biodiversity area are not site endemics (i.e. we 
expect them to occur in other areas but lacked information during the timeframe 
of this profile), we treated these as a lower priority than the second site for a 
Critically Endangered or Endangered species. 
 
Only one additional site was needed to ensure that all Critically Endangered and 
Endangered species were represented, and so this site was included as well. Henderson 
Island emerged as irreplaceable in the first tier, but was dropped due to expert opinion 
that it is not threatened and should not be a priority. Thus, there are 60 sites prioritized 
for intervention by CEPF in the Polynesia-Micronesia Hotspot (Table 8, Figure 3).  
 
Table 8. Priorities for Site-Level Investment by CEPF 
 
Site 
No
1
 
Site Name 
Country 
Land Area 
(Ha)
 
Existing 
protected 
area in 
the site? 
Number of 
globally 
threatened 
species* 
Number of 
site 
endemics 
1 Atiu 
Island 
Cook 
Islands 
2700 Yes 


2 Mangaia 
Cook 
Islands 
5180 No 



Takitumu 
Conservation Area 
Cook 
Islands 
155 Yes 

 
60 Gau 
Island 
Fiji 
12150 
No 


61 Hatana 
Island 
Fiji 
10 
No 

 
63 Laucala 
Island 
Fiji 
1350 
No 

 
65 Monuriki 
Island 
Fiji 
100 
No 

 
66 
Mt Evans Range-
Koroyanitu 
Fiji 5400 Yes 


67 Mt 
Kasi 
Fiji 
n.d. 
No 


68 Mt 
Korobaba 
Fiji 
n.d. 
No 


69 Mt 
Navtuvotu 
Fiji 
n.d. 
Now  2 
 
70 Mt 
Nubuiloa 
Fiji 
n.d. 
No 


71 
Nabukelevu/Mt 
Washington 
Fiji 1800 Yes 


72 
Naicobocobo dry 
forests 
Fiji 1800 No 

 

 
60
 
 
Site 
No
1
 
Site Name 
Country 
Land Area 
(Ha)
 
Existing 
protected 
area in 
the site? 
Number of 
globally 
threatened 
species* 
Number of 
site 
endemics 
75 Nasigasiga 
Fiji 
1800 
No 

 
76 Natewa 
Peninsula Fiji 
9000 
Yes 
11 
 
77 Nausori 
Highlands Fiji 
8100 
No 
14 

78 Ogea 
Fiji 
1350 
No 


80 
Serua forest 
wilderness 
Fiji 20700 
No 
19 

81 
Sovi Basin and 
Korobosabasaga 
Range 
Fiji 19800 
No 
24 
 
82 Taveuni 
Fiji 
48510 
Yes 
24 

83 
Tomaniivi-Wabu 
Nature and Forest 
Reserve complex 
Fiji 7200 Yes 
21 

87 
Voma/Namosi 
Highlands 
Fiji 1170 No 
15 
 
91 
Wailotua/Nabukelevu 
bat caves 
Fiji 1080 No 


92 
Waisali Dakua 
National Trust Forest 
Reserve 
Fiji 2430 Yes 

 
93 
Yadua Taba Island 
Fiji 
153 
Yes 

 
94 Bora 
Bora 
French 
Polynesia 
3760 No 


96 Fatu 
Hiva 
French 
Polynesia 
7770 No 


98 Hatuta'a 
Island 
French 
Polynesia 
1810 Yes 

 
99 Hiva 
Oa 
French 
Polynesia 
24090 No 5 
 
100 Huahine 
French 
Polynesia 
7480 No 


101 Makatea 
French 
Polynesia 
2896 No 


102 Mangareva 
French 
Polynesia 
1300 No 


103 Mo'orea 
French 
Polynesia 
13200 No 6 

105 Morane 
French 
Polynesia 
200 No 

 
106 Motane 
Island 
French 
Polynesia 
1554 Yes 

 
108 Niau 
French 
5582 
No 



 
61
 
 
Site 
No
1
 
Site Name 
Country 
Land Area 
(Ha)
 
Existing 
protected 
area in 
the site? 
Number of 
globally 
threatened 
species* 
Number of 
site 
endemics 
Polynesia 
109 Nuku 
Hiva 
French 
Polynesia 
33600 No 5 

110 Raiatea 
French 
Polynesia 
17200 No 4 

111 Raivavae 
French 
Polynesia 
2007 No 
13 

112 Rangiora 
French 
Polynesia 
7900 Now 

 
113 Rapa 
French 
Polynesia 
1000 No 
24 
19 
115 Rimatara 
French 
Polynesia 
878 No 


117 Tahiti 
French 
Polynesia 
20000 Yes 
28 
19 
118 Tahuata 
French 
Polynesia 
7512 No 

 
119 Ua 
Huka 
French 
Polynesia 
8100 Yes 


15 Fefan 
Forests 
FSM 
200 
No 

 
17 
Kosrae upland forest  FSM 
4640 
No 


31 Oneop 
Island 
FSM 
327 
No 

 
35 Pohndollap 
Ridge FSM 
83 
No 

 
36 
Pohnpei Central 
Forest 
FSM 10372  Yes 


39 Satowan 
Island 
FSM 
60 
No 

 
123 Bokak 
Atoll 
Marshall 
Islands 
324 Yes 

 
132 
Babeldaob Upland 
Forest (broad-leafed 
tropical forest) 
Palau 21000  No  10 

137 Pitcairn 
Pitcairn 
Islands 
486 No 


139 
Lake Lanoto’o 
National Park 
Samoa 60 
Yes  5 
 
140 
O le Pupu Pu’e 
National Park 
Samoa 2857 
Yes  5 
 
142 
Savaii Lowland and 
Upland Forest 
Samoa 25000 
No 
10 

145 'Eua 
Tonga 
8700 
Yes 


147 Niuafo'ou 
Freshwater 
Tonga 
5300 
No 

 

 
62
 
 
Site 
No
1
 
Site Name 
Country 
Land Area 
(Ha)
 
Existing 
protected 
area in 
the site? 
Number of 
globally 
threatened 
species* 
Number of 
site 
endemics 
Lake 
Notes:  n.d. = no data 
1. Site numbers are the same as those shown in Figure 3 and Appendix 3  
2. Land area is approximate only  
3. Invasive free status is a qualitative assessment of how free the site is of major invasive 
species (such as the ship rat, mongoose, vertebrate browsers, and invasive weeds)

 
63
 
 
Figure 3. Site Outcomes in the Polynesia-Micronesia Hotspot and Priority Sites for CEPF Investment 
 

 
64
 
 
Program Focus 
The programmatic focus of CEPF in the Polynesia-Micronesia Hotspot will be on 
reducing the risks of extinction of a prioritized set of 41 globally threatened species and 
on improving the conservation of 60 key biodiversity areas as indicated above. The 
investment strategy and programmatic focus are on actions in CEPF eligible countries 
only. 
 
The approach for achieving this focus in the Pacific context necessarily involves 
strengthening the capacity of resource stewards to manage and conserve threatened 
species and sites. This will require the application of practical conservation science to 
improve our knowledge of biological systems and the tools to conserve it, along with the 
development of collaborative partnerships between civil society organizations and the 
local communities and governments who are the stewards of the biological resources. To 
maximize leverage and impact from all investment priorities, CEPF will strive to develop 
partnerships that strengthen existing initiatives with similar objectives. 
 
The specific strategic directions and necessary interventions or investment priorities 
required to achieve the program focus are discussed in the following section.  
 
Strategic Directions 
Four strategic directions have been developed for the Polynesia-Micronesia Hotspot 
based on three subregional roundtable meetings (in Western Polynesia, Fiji, and 
Micronesia) and two meetings of regional conservation experts (in Apia) along with an 
analysis of species outcomes, threats, current and planned investments, and strategies and 
infrastructural frameworks in the hotspot.  
 
The strategic directions, along with the investment priorities under each, are summarized 
in Table 9, and are described in more detail in the text following the table.  
 

 
65
 
 
Table 9. CEPF Strategic Directions and Investment Priorities for the Polynesia-Micronesia 
Hotspot 
 
Strategic Directions 
Investment Priorities 
1. Prevent, control, and 
eradicate invasive species in 
key biodiversity areas 
1.1  Strengthen defences against the introduction and 
spread of invasive species and pathogens that threaten 
biodiversity  
1.2  Control or eradicate invasive species in key biodiversity 
areas, particularly where they threaten native species 
with extinction  
1.3  Perform research, provide training in management 
techniques, and develop rapid response capacity 
against particularly serious invasive species 
2. Strengthen the 
conservation status and 
management of 60 key 
biodiversity areas 
 
2.1  Develop and manage conservation areas that conserve 
currently unprotected priority sites, especially critical 
refugia such as large forest blocks and alien-free 
habitats 
2.2  Improve the management of existing protected areas 
that are priority site outcomes 
3. Build awareness and 
1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   ...   17


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