Monasavu Dam; Nadrau plateau
17°46’S, 178°0’E (central Viti Levu)
approximately 610–930 m
Unprotected. Site of National Significance.
Basin. Monasavu Dam and associated smaller dams
power a series of hydro-electric generators, providing
the majority of Fiji’s electricity. Forest has been
flooded to create these reservoirs and small areas have
been cleared or degraded around these sites. The dam
is owned by the Fiji government and leased by the
Fiji Electricity Authority (FEA). The forested
watershed is owned by local land-owners but is not
leased or managed by FEA, even though the FEA
relies on the catchment for an uninterrupted supply
of water for its hydropower. Recent logging in the
area, under government permit, has drawn national
and international criticism. It has since been stopped
with forestry officials currently under investigation.
The land tenure is mostly Native Lands except for
three Crown Lands totalling about 1,490 ha.
[Red-throated Lorikeet (CR) – last known site
(last sighting in 1993); may still occur]
Long-legged Warbler (EN) – one of only two
known populations; at least two pairs
Important Bird Areas in Fiji – Site accounts
M a t a i n a s a u
Tu b a r u a
F J 0 8
24 species (out of 25 known from Viti Levu),
including all three endemic to Viti Levu. See
The montane forests from Rairaimatuku to the
Greater Tomaniivi IBA are the best hope for survival
of Red-throated Lorikeet but ongoing surveys are still
required to confirm its current status. The species was
reportedly “well known to everyone in Nadrau” in
1979 and there are a few records in the Nadrau area
until 1993. The IBA is nationally important for the
numbers of Pacific Black Duck on Monasavu
reservoir, where a maximum of 120 have been seen,
and Peregrine Falcons probably breed.
s Other biodiversity
The Rairaimatuku area is the only known site for the
endemic Montane Tree Skink although this species
is likely to occur elsewhere in montane Viti Levu.
Other endemic species include Fijian Tree Frog (NT)
and Green Tree Skink, but the plants and other
biodiversity are poorly known.
The Rairaimatuku area is threatened by logging. New
logging tracks were being opened during project
fieldwork (2002–04), degrading the forest and opening
access to invasive alien species, such as mongoose and
Black Rats. Whilst there is no logging in the immediate
water catchments of the various hydro-electricity
dams, which are protected by the FEA, this logging is
likely to have an impact on the water level and quality
in the dams through local climate change and run-off.
Forest is being lost at a much slower rate through
clearance for agricultural land, especially close to the
roads. The FEA office close to the Monasavu Dam
could be used as a base for education, research and
conservation. The impacts of invasive alien species are
poorly known but predation by mongoose probably
caused the historical extirpation of Collated Petrel and
predation by rats may have caused the recent or
imminent extinction of the Red-throated Lorikeet.
Fiji Programme IBA project field
reports Nos 2, 33 and 42.
Viti Levu. Heritage [Newsletter of the Fiji Museum, Suva].
Taveuni, Fiji. Emu 79: 7–18.
Lorikeet Charmosyna amabilis in the Fiji Islands. Suva:
National Trust for Fiji and World Parrot Trust.
Sovi Basin Conservation Area; includes Korobasabasaga
17°55’S, 178°12’E (south-east Viti Levu)
Proposed conservation area; Site of National Significance.
Fiji. It is unique in the Pacific islands in being a large
uninhabited basin with a pristine watershed of
lowland rainforest. It supports populations of most
of Viti Levu’s birds including Long-legged Warbler
(EN) and relatively large numbers of Pink-billed
s Site description
rolling hills ringed by steep volcanic peaks rising to
1,185 m. The hills in the western third of the basin
are mostly between 300 m and 600 m, otherwise
between 80 m and 300 m and drain through a narrow
gorge to the east. The basin is composed of plutonic
granite surrounded by andesite volcanics while the
basin soils are infertile red-yellow podzols. Rainfall
has been estimated at over 2,800 mm in the wet season
(November–April) and 1,200—1,600 mm in the dry
season, and lowland temperatures average 25°C. The
outer boundaries of the IBA follow the edge of the
contiguous dense forest, which includes the outer
slopes of the basin. The next IBA, the Viti Levu
Southern Highlands, is separated by the cultivated
Waimanu valley, and the Rairaimatuku Highlands
IBA is across patchy agriculture and degraded forest
remnants to the north. The basin has 11 different
lowland forest types, 45% of the wet forest types in
Fiji. These are all old-growth forests except for small
areas of previously cleared land along the main rivers.
The canopy in the basin is about 20–25 m high with
emergents up to 30 m, but is only 7–20 m high on the
steep high-altitude slopes. Sovi Basin is under
traditional ownership of 13 mataqali, belonging to
the three Tikina; Waimaro (97%), Nadaravakawalu
and Namosi. As well as these Native Lands, there
are eight small Crown Lands (totalling about 1,306
ha) and two Freehold Lands (80 ha). The basin was
inhabited a few generations ago but abandoned
because of poor soils and accessibility into the basin.
Sovi is only 35 km from the capital, Suva.
A1 Globally threatened species
Long-legged Warbler (EN) – three sightings (29–
31 March 2005)
Tu b a r u a
N a q a r a w a i
N a r a i y a w a
D e l a i l a s a k a u
N a d a k u n i
By 2005, all the land-owners had signed up to
cancelling the logging concession and were
negotiating a compensatory conservation trust fund,
largely from the Global Conservation Fund. This
project has been lead by Conservation International
in collaboration with other institutions, notably the
National Trust of Fiji. Assuming the success of these
negotiations, the forests of Sovi look set to be
conserved as the largest protected area in Fiji. The
trust fund will resource some conservation actions,
the most important being an assessment of the impact
of invasive alien species. Sovi has fewer invasive alien
species than most sites because it is a large block of
forest without roads but it has most of the harmful
species on Viti Levu, notably mongoose and Black
Rat. Sovi would be an ideal place to conduct research
on the impact of these species and to undertake trial
actions to control them.
reports Nos 6, 7, 10, 14 and 32.
2003. Suva: University of the South Pacific. Unpublished
USP (2004) PABITRA Survey Report – Sovi Basin October
A2 Restricted-range species
24 species (out of 25 on Viti Levu), including all
three endemic to Viti Levu. See Appendix 2.
As the largest (proposed) protected area in Fiji, it
supports the largest protected populations of many
of Fiji’s restricted-range species. Further survey work
is necessary to clarify the status of the Long-legged
Warbler and of the ‘missing’ species, Red-throated
Lorikeet. The nationally threatened Peregrine Falcon
is often reported and is likely to breed.
The endemic Fijian Burrowing Snake (VU) is known
historically from Sovi and several other endemic
reptiles occur including Green Tree Skink and Fijian
Copper-headed Skink. The Fijian Tree Frog (NT)
also occurs. Recent PABITRA surveys suggest that
the basin supports about 680 species of vascular
plants, one third of Fiji’s total. This includes large
numbers of Schefflera euthytrica (DD) in a very rare
lowland rainforest formation on plains around creeks
dominated by Verbenaceae trees.
Sovi Basin has been the subject of ongoing action to
secure agreement for conservation instead of logging.
Important Bird Areas in Fiji – Site accounts
Typical village, Sovi Basin. (
Namosi; Waimanu; Savura
18°5’S, 178°17’E (south-east Viti Levu)
Savura (448 ha) and Vago (25 ha) Forest Reserves are designated as water catchment reserves. The Garrick
Memorial Reserve (429 ha) is owned by the National Trust of Fiji. The upper Navua gorge is a proposed Ramsar
site. The rest of the IBA is unprotected but includes several Sites of National Significance.
A1 (globally threatened birds); A2 (restricted-range birds)
Namosi, Viti Levu Southern Highlands. (
S U VA
N a s o q o
N a k a v i k a
N a m o s i
C o l o - i - S u v a
F J 10
N a v u a
Levu’s threatened and endemic birds including Long-
legged Warbler (EN) and good numbers of Pink-
billed Parrotfinches (VU). Savura Creek is a protected
water catchment area, and the IBA’s location
adjacent to Suva offers great education and awareness
of hills and low mountains, rising to the mountains
of Makuluva (615 m) and Nakorolo (860 m) in
Namosi, and Nakobalevu (464 m) and Korobaba
(422 m) in the east. A botanical transact up Mt
Korobaba recorded a transition from multi-layered
forest with emergents up to 35 m and a rich
development of epiphytes and climbers, to a 4–14 m
tall broken-canopied scrub, poor in epiphytes and
climbers. This and other isolated Fijian mountains
often have stunted vegetation because of the
shallowness of the soil, exposure to strong winds and
the Massenerhebung effect of lower altitudinal zones
on smaller mountains. A study of the Savura Forest
Reserve recorded 560 indigenous vascular plant
species, of which 52% are endemic to Fiji. The IBA is
bordered to the west by the logged forests of Serua,
to the south by the coastal agricultural belt and to
the north by the agriculture along the Waimanu river
valley. To the east, the IBA is bordered by settlements
on the edge of Suva and the mahogany plantations
of the Colo-i-Suva Forest Park. The IBA is likely to
benefit from movement of birds to and from the
degraded Serua forests and the Sovi Basin IBA to
the north. Much of the IBA is unlogged because of
steep slopes but logging roads are scattered across
the area, especially at lower altitudes. A few small
areas have been planted with mahogany. The land
tenure is mostly Native Lands, with 18 small Freehold
Lands (totalling about 2,031 ha) and five Crown
Lands (1,177 ha).
at Mt Korobaba but probably more widespread
but locally fairly common
Forest along a section of the main Namosi road has
the highest known population density of Pink-billed
Parrotfinches: 11 records in 50 ‘observer-hours’ in
December 2002. The IBA contains historical nest sites
for the nationally threatened Peregrine Falcon.
Namosi is the best known site for the endemic Fijian
Burrowing Snake (VU). A skink similar to the
Turquoise Tree Skink, hitherto known only from
Vanua Levu, has been recorded here.
The IBA is threatened by logging and, in places, by
mining. A large open-cast mine has been proposed in
Namosi where the bedrock contains copper and gold
ore in quantities which would make such a mine
commercially viable if prices rise. Small-scale logging
occurs in scattered places across the IBA. Much of
the Garrick Memorial Reserve was illegally logged
in the 1980s. The biggest problem with selective
logging is creating access to invasive alien species,
such as mongoose and Black Rats. Some natural
forest has been clear-felled and planted with
mahogany but this practice has been discontinued in
recent years. Agriculture is expanding up the foothills
in many areas. The Savura and Vago Forest Reserves
act as a water catchment for Suva and have been
protected from logging since 1963. One new
conservation area has been proposed: the forest 200
m each side of the upper Navua river from
Nabukelevu to Wainadiro is leased by Rivers Fiji and
is awaiting designation as Fiji’s first Ramsar site.
reports Nos 1, 3, 4, 5, 8, 13, 15, 16 and 21.
forest site along the PABITRA Gateway Transect, Viti
Levu, Fiji. Pacific Science 59: 175–191.
and flora along an altitudinal transect through tropical
forest at Mount Korobaba, Fiji. New Zealand Journal of
Botany 23: 33–46.
, S., B
(CR). The exact nesting areas are unknown but
presumed to be in the forested hills and mountains
of the island interior. This same area also has the
largest known population of Collared Petrels (NT)
and a number of endemic forest species.
The IBA covers the entire forested interior of the
island. Gau is the fifth largest island in Fiji with a
18°1’S, 179°19’E (east of Viti Levu) Area 52 km
Altitude 0–738 m
Unprotected. Site of National Significance. Alliance for Zero Extinction site.
A1 (globally threatened birds); A2 (restricted-range birds); A4ii (congregatory seabirds)
population of just 3,000 people subsisting on fishing
and farming. The agricultural coastal fringe, with
gardens extending up to 300 m, is excluded from the
IBA. The IBA is lowland rainforest with stunted
forest on ridge-tops and includes some of the world’s
lowest-altitude montane cloud forest on the high
exposed slopes. The only maintained track in the
hinterland provides access to a Telecom repeater
tower situated just below Mt Delaco, the island’s
highest peak at 738 m.
A1 Globally threatened species
Fiji Petrel (CR) – the only known breeding site
for this species
[Tahiti Petrel (NT) – has also been found ashore
and is likely to breed]
Collared Petrel (NT) – the only known breeding
site (but several other sites are suspected)
A2 Restricted-range species
13 species (out of 36 in Fiji). See Appendix 2.
A4ii Congregatory seabird species
Fiji Petrel – meets the threshold of >1 pair
Collared Petrel – meets the threshold of >10 pairs
M t D e l a c o
Q a r a n i
N a v u k a i l a g i
S a w a i e k e
L e v u k a i g a u
nearby Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. The hill forests
are not under extensive threat of clearance or
degradation but subsistence gardens are slowly
encroaching uphill and there are reports of villagers
finding newly dug burrows within their gardens.
These burrows are likely to be made by Wedge-tailed
Shearwaters, not Fiji Petrels. Shifting cultivation
leaves grassland fallows which are at risk from
uncontrolled fire which can damage adjacent forest.
Agricultural activities are slowly increasing as the
population increases, and as some restrictions are
placed on harvesting of marine resources. There may
be potential for a low level of specialised ecotourism
to cater for interested ornithologists as and when the
Fiji Petrel nesting grounds have been located.
reports Nos 37 and 38.
(1989) A Tahiti Petrel (Pseudobulweria rostrata) from Gau
Island, Fiji. Notornis 36:149–150.
Consultants (Fiji) Ltd. Unpublished report.
, R. F. (1985) A note to
record the continuing survival of the Fiji (MacGillivray’s)
Petrel Pseudobulweria macgillivrayi. Ibis 127: 230–233.
There are only a handful of records of Fiji Petrels in
the world, all of single birds attracted to lights on
Gau. Tens or hundreds of pairs of Collared Petrel
constitute the only known breeding site of this species
but several other islands are likely to support this
poorly known species. Two subspecies, Island Thrush
T. p. hades and Golden Whistler P. p. vitiensis, are
endemic to Gau.
Gau is free of mongoose and supports good numbers
of amphibians and reptiles including the Fijian
Ground Frog (EN) and Banded Iguana (EN).
Preliminary studies suggest that it has high numbers
of endemic plants.
controlling various invasive alien predators. Small
petrels across the world are susceptible to predation
at the nest by feral/introduced cats, pigs and rats, all
of which are present throughout the forest on Gau.
There appear to be no cliffs or inaccessible
mountainous ledges on Gau where petrels could nest
out of the reach of these predators. Research is
urgently needed to locate the petrel nesting grounds,
to monitor breeding success and the impact of these
predators. Fortunately, Gau lacks mongoose but
conservation action needs to include preventative
measures to ensure that they do not colonise from
Forest, Gau. (
the largest area of montane forest in west Kadavu. It
holds the four bird species endemic to Kadavu, and
may still support nesting colonies of threatened
seabirds. The lower slopes have been largely cleared
for agriculture but the top of the mountain remains
untouched because of its rugged terrain and high
Nabukelevu is a spectacular isolated mountain rising
steeply from the sea in west Kadavu. Its name is said
to mean ‘giant yam mound’, an accurate description
of this steep-sided massif. It is an andesitic volcanic
lava dome which last erupted in the Holocene. Many
of the lower slopes have been cleared for agriculture
and the IBA boundary starts at the lower boundary
of the forest on the west, south and east. To the north,
the IBA extends down to the sea as this very steep
slope supports little human activity and may be
important for nesting seabirds. Nabukelevu is the
only area in west Kadavu that retains extensive
old-growth forest but scattered, mostly degraded,
forest extends east to connect it to the old-growth
forests close to Vunisea. The north slope of
Nabukelevu and some upper reaches of the west and
south slopes are dominated by scrubby forest on
boulder-strewn steep slopes, which is probably climax
vegetation for these slopes which are susceptible to
land-slides. The mid-altitudes on the west, south and
east slopes have old-growth lowland rainforest. This
is of higher stature on flatter land but much of the
area is steep and any flatter areas at lower altitude
have been cleared for agriculture. The plateau and
the steep upper slopes are low-stature montane forest,
which show no sign of human activity except for a
rarely used trail to a summit clearing. The mountain