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University replaces trees damaged by Tropical Cyclone Winston

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USP gardener, Mr Senitiki Cawani, plants a Vesi tree near the residential halls in upper campus. Pictured on the left is the remains of a tree which was damaged by TC Winston.

The University of the South Pacific (USP) is working closely with the Department of Forestry in a bid to replant those trees at the Laucala Campuses that were damaged during Tropical Cyclone Winston.

The Occupational and Environmental Health and Safety unit at USP has identified areas around the Statham and upper Laucala campus, and are working to replant trees that will be able to withstand future devastating cyclones.

USP Environment, Health and Safety officer, Mr Rahul Dutt said that his team is working to preserve a very important identity of the Laucala Campus, which is the flora around campus.

“Although we have a very diverse flora on campus, the replanting ensures the continuance of native and endemic tree species and other species that are directly and indirectly dependent on them,” Mr Dutt added.

The trees that are selected for planting are locally known by the following names, Dilo, Tavola, Masiratu, Fiji Sago Palm, Kauvula, Yaka, Qumu, Damanu, Koka, Drala, Amunu, Waciwaci, Kuasi, Bua ni Viti, Vutu wai, Volau, Baumuri, Vesi.

“These trees are large and strong rooted trees, are native or endemic species, provide shade and are of cultural value to the Pacific Island Countries,” Mr Dutt said.

Thirteen trees have been planted by the University gardeners so far and further replanting will recommence in two months when the rest of the seedlings are ready for planting.

Mr Dutt said that, where possible, USP is trying to complement the planting of trees listed in the Department of Forestry’s 25 priority species list.

Speaking about the tree planting exercise, Mr Dutt said that, “we ought to look at this as an important exercise. Many of the trees have served countless USP alumni through the years. We can only wonder whose hands had planted the trees that we are benefiting from today. We have a debt to pay, and that is to plant for the future.”

(From L-R): Forestry Officer at the Department of Forestry, Mr Maika Daveta, USP gardners Mr Senitiki Cawani and Mr Jone Tabualailai and USP Environment, Health and Safety officer, Mr Rahul Dutt with the endemic tree species at the University nursery.

The University’s Occupational and Environmental Health and Safety unit is planning to have USP as a repository for trees listed in the Department of Forestry’s 25 species priority list. This can be possible through the University’s greenhouse and nursery. 

Forestry Officer at the Department of Forestry, Mr Maika Daveta said that tree planting exercise is one of the many activities that the department has engaged in as part of its rehabilitation programme after Tropical Cyclone Winston.

“We continue to advocate sustainable forestry management and replanting of trees as a way forward to solving issues such as climate change, timber production, food security, improving water quality, alleviating poverty and loss of biodiversity,” Mr Daveta highlighted.

The Department and the University has been collaborating on research and other projects for a number of years.

Mr Daveta noted that there have been successful projects with the University in the past and the Department relies on USP for technical advice from its Institute of Applied Sciences, Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment and the Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development.

The seedlings for the tree replanting exercise were supplied by the Fiji Department of Forestry.

This news item was published on 11 May 2016 01:38:51 pm. For more information or any High-Res Images, please contact us on email

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