Institute of Applied Science


Environment Unit


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Section Description

The Institute of Applied Science (IAS) Environment Unit conducts environmental impacts assessments and can monitor land and water biodiversity and water quality.  It also works with communities to assist them in the development and implementation of resource management plans.  
Major projects of the unit are the Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) projects, Integrated Locally Managed Marine Area (LMMA) Project, which focuses on community-based management of marine resources in a number of sites around Fiji. The unit was also the Pacific focal point for the LMMA Network, a learning portfolio of community-based marine conservation projects in Asia and the Pacific which won the Equator Initiative Award in 2002. LMMA is now an independent entity and for more information please go to

The unit also has expertise in the areas of water and sanitation, land use planning, ecological, socio-economic, capacity building and training.


Name: Dr.Isoa Korovulavula

Title: Manager

Unit: Environment Unit


Contact: +679 323 2976


Environment Unit: Research & Postgraduate Studies

The list below contains thesis titles from both Masters (MSc) and Doctoral (PhD) research by the IAS Natural Resource Management postgraduates, for both completed and current students. Click on thesis titles (blue text) to read more about each research.



Thesis Title





Factors affecting growth rate of the cultured algae Euchema sp. Field work and work lab completed

Albert Whippy




Growth and morphology of local grapes (Caulera sp) in Fiji

Tomasi Tikoibua




Climate Change and Water Governance in small island communities along Malaita Province Central Coast

John Walenenea




Assessing the effects of Nitrogen Fixing plants on soil fertility on Kadavu

Isimeli Loganimoce




Evaluating water resource management strategies of women in informal settlements and villages in Fiji

Asenaca Vakatalai




Community-based Marine Resources Management and Government Laws and Policies in Fiji

Isoa Koroiwaqa




The role of locally managed marine areas in the protection of herbivorous fish and their ability to control algal overgrowth in Fiji

Fulori Vakalutusau Nainoca



Postgraduate course(s)

Rusiate Ratuniata




Village governance in relation to coastal resource management: A case study of Namada village (Nadroga) and Navukailagi (Gau).

Ratu Seru Tagivakatini




The impact of live rock harvesting on fish abundance, substrate composition and reef topography along the Coral coast, Fiji Islands.

Make Liku Movono




Assessing the reliability of community indicator species as a means of measuring  MPA effectiveness

Ron Simpson




Effects before and after closure of a marine protected area: Case study of Navakavu, Suva, Fiji Islands.

Akuila Calacaka




Coastal processes and their impacts on coastal erosion: A case study of Votua in the Coral coast, Sigatoka, Fiji Islands.

Lavenia Tawake




The application of GIS and remote sensing on intergral coastal management (Case study: The Sigatoka coral coast).

Lanieta Tokalauvere




Community based coastal resource management in Fiji: Case study of Korolevu-i-wai district, Nadroga.

Sakiusa Patrick Fong




Coral recruitment and settlement during a post-bleaching recovery period.

Ron Vave




The study of natural products from sponge Jaspis coriacea and a new Fijian ascidian Polyandrocarpasp.

Semisi Meo




Human impacts on coastal fisheries in rural communities and their conservation approach: A case study on Kaikoso (Anadara spp) Fishery in Verata District, Fiji

Alifereti Tawake





Environment Unit Staff List


Name: Dr. Isoa Korovulavula

Title: Acting Director / Manager Environment

Unit: Environment Unit

Email: isoa.korovulavula(at) 

Contact: +679 323 2976


Name: Teddy Fong

Title: Project Manager

Unit: Environment Unit

Email: teddy.fong(at) 

Contact: +679 323 1651

Name: Lavenia Tawake

Title: Environmental Project Manager

Unit: Environment Unit

Email: lavenie.tawake(at) 

Contact: +679 323 2170


Name: Tuverea Tuamoto

Title: Senior Scientific Officer

Unit: Environment Unit

Email: tuverea.tuamoto(at) 

Contact: +679 3232 969

Name: Tomasi Tikoibua

Title: Senior Scientific Officer

Unit: Environment Unit

Email: tomasi.tikoibua(at) 

Contact: +679 3231 650

Name: Rosemary Dautei

Title: Marine Project Officer

Unit: Environment Unit

Email: rosemary.dautei(at)

Contact: +679 323 2981

Name: Albert Whippy

Title: Scientific Officer

Unit: Environment Unit

Email: albert.whippy(at)

Contact: +679 323 2698


Name: Joji Sivo

Title: Data Entry Clerk

Unit: Environment Unit

Email: joji.sivo(at)

Contact: +679 323 2900


Name: Pio Radikedike

Title: Community Liaison Officer

Unit: Environment Unit

Email: pio.radikedike(at)

Contact: +679 323 2900


Name: Mere Judith Vere

Title: Technical Officer

Unit: Environment Unit

Contact: +679 323 2900

Name: Sereseini Kurulala

Title: Assistant Technical Officer

Unit: Environment Unit

Contact: +679 323 2900

Current Projects

Current Projects

Fiji Ridge to Reef (R2R) Project

Fiji Ridge to Reef (R2R) Project

The Fiji Ridge to Reef (R2R) project is a multi-partnership agreement for a 1.5 Million USD project to improve climate resilience and to sustain livelihoods in Fiji. Funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the 3-year project is facilitated but the UNDP and the Ministry of Waterways and Environment.

The Fiji R2R Project intends to preserve biodiversity, ecosystem services, sequester carbon, improve climate resilience and sustain livelihoods through a ridge-to-reef management of six priority water catchments on the two main islands of Fiji. The catchments include Waidina-Rewa, Tuva and Ba on Viti Levu and Labasa, Vinivia and Tunuloa on Vanua Levu.

In collaboration with development partners, namely the Government of Fiji and Non-Governmental Organisations, the project will address key environmental issues in an integrated manner. It will bolster Fiji’s national system of marine protected areas through an enhanced and a sustainable system of LMMA including greater protection of threatened marine species. It also aims to reduce the negative impacts of land-based activities on the Marine Protected Areas through the development and implementation of integrated catchment management plans.This includes mangrove protection and adoption of appropriate sustainable land use practices. It also covers riparian restoration in adjoining upstream watersheds as well as terrestrial protected areas, restored and rehabilitated forests.

Past Projects

Past Projects


RESCCUE Project Fiji


RESCCUE stands for the Restoration of Ecosystem Services against Climate Change, a regional project implemented by the Pacific Community (SPC). The RESCCUE project operates in two French Territories namely, New Caledonia, French polynesia and two Pacific Island Countries, Fiji and Vanuatu. The overall goal of RESCCUE is to contribute to increasing the resilience of Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs) in the context of global climatic and environmental changes. RESCCUE aims at supporting adaptation to climate change (ACC) through development and implementing of integrated coastal management (ICM), resorting especially to economic analysis and economic and financial mechanisms. 

The capacity to adapt and be resilient to the effects of climate change has been a major issue for Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs). As the most vulnerable to the effects of climate changes such as ocean acidification, greenhouse gasses emissions and threats to biodiversity, the PICTs need to increase their capacity to adapt and also increase resilience to such changes.

RESCCUE Pilot Site Objectives 

  • Strengthen integrated coastal management and adaptation to climate change.
  • Strengthen the use of economic analysis for integrated coastal management.
  • Ensure economic and financial sustainability of integrated coastal management.
  • Facilitate learning, dissemination and replication of experiences gained from pilot sites.

RESCCUE Project in Fiji

The operator in charge of the implementation of the RESCCUE project in Fiji under the supervision of both SPC and the Fijian Government is the Institute of Applied Sciences (IAS) of The University of the South Pacific. IAS is supported by Landcare Research New Zealand, Wildlife Conservation Society, Conservation International and Fiji Environment Law Association.

Five Components of RESCCUE

RESCCUE is divided into five components:

Component 1: Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) – supporting ICM implementation through ICM plans, ICM committees, and management activities concerning both terrestrial and marine ecosystems, capacity building and income generating activities.

Component 2: Economic analysis – using economic analysis to support coastal management and policy decisions.

Component 3: Economic and financial mechanisms – setting up economic and financial mechanisms to generate additional and sustainable funding for ICM: review of options (payment for ecosystem services, taxes, user fees, trust funds, quota markets, offsets, labels); feasibility studies; implementation and monitoring.

Component 4: Capitalisation, communication, dissemination of project outcomes in the Pacific – going beyond pilot sites activities in order to have impacts at the regional level, by fostering experience sharing between sites, cross-sectoral expertise, and communication and dissemination of the project outcomes.

Component 5: Project management – implementing and coordinating the project, by providing technical assistance, organising local and regional steering committees, conducting audits and evaluations (mi-term and ex-post), etc.


RESCCUE is funded primarily by the French Development Agency (AFD) and the French Global Environment Facility (FFEM) for a duration of five years (01/01/2014 to 31/12/2018).


SESA Project

SESA FIJI (Strategic Environmental and Social Assessment (SESA) for Fiji REDD+ Readiness)

USP-IAS with its team of well experienced & qualified consultants have been contracted on this project to critically analyse REDD+ strategy options from a social and environmental point of view and propose measures/safeguards to mitigate these risks and impacts during REDD+ strategy implementation. The project also encourages a multi-stakeholder engagement approach that will be part of the Consultation and Participation Plan. 

Marine Area Work

Locally-Managed Marine Area work

For the Locally-Managed Marine Area work in Fiji a major emphasis for 2013 was an “audit” of all 150 villages where IAS has been working with the community on inshore fishery management.  The study sought to determine the reality of what was actually happening at the ground level.  The good news was that 70% of the communities perceived that their management plan was leading to an increase in fish biomass.  About 50% of the community reported opening their “tabu” areas during the previous year.  This is in line with traditional use of the management tool where a “tabu” allowed for an increase in fish for later use, like a bank account.  We are working with communities to help them determine what their “fish account” interest is so that they only harvest the “interest” and not the fish “capital”.   



Integrated Coastal Management (ICM)


The work with integrated coastal management (ICM) continues in Ra and Kadavu provinces with the development and implementation of action plans to address coastal management issues.  In 2014, it is hoped that a Framework for a provincial coastal management plan can be developed and completed for at least one province.


IAS also continued to play a key role in furthering integrated coastal management in Fiji, a concept it helped introduce via a national workshop in 2002.  The government of Fiji has mandated in its Environment Management Act (2005) that a national ICM Plan be developed.  In 2011 a framework for such a plan was developed by Ms Patrina Dumaru, a part-time IAS staff member also doing her PhD on climate change adaptation.  The framework calls for provincial-level ICM plans to be developed first in key provinces and this work will be undertaken in 2012.


Integrated Coastal Management:

The Environment Unit besides the consultancies already mentioned continued with a number of project related to community-based inshore fishery management and integrated coastal management (ICM).  The ICM work has lead to a national ICM committee being written into national law; the first task of this committee will be to develop a framework for a national coastal management plan in Fiji.

Associated with the community work are several research projects to better understand the effects of the marine management on the fishery.  One is a “catch per unit effort” initiative in which fishermen record data on types, sizes and location of fish caught and fishing gear used.  These data are currently being analysed.  An interesting early find is that 70% of fish caught in a Fijian village are sold

Leadership & Mgmt. Training

Leadership and Management Training

The leadership and management training for i Taukei chiefs has continued and three more provinces completed in 2013 and the final province, Lau, begun.  This i Taukei Affairs Board (iTAB) has taken over leadership of the training with staffing support from IAS.

Also working with iTAB a program to place environmental specialists at the Provincial Offices has begun. The concept grew out of the ICM and LMMA projects. The Ra ICM project funded the first such officer and IAS is supporting such an officer in Kadavu and four more are being supported by a grant to iTAB from the Packard Foundation organized via IAS.  These officers will assist in community-based resource management project in their area.


IAS also continued to be active in leadership and management training in Fiji.  In 2009-2010 it developed and trialed a leadership training program for Fijian traditional chiefs.  This was well-received, especially by the i Taukei Affairs Ministry, which incorporated this training into their 2011 work plan.  IAS and iTA Ministry staff worked together in 2011 to conduct the workshops in seven provinces, first working with district chiefs on a provincial level and then holding workshops in each district of  the province for village chiefs.  The management aspect especially focuses on managing natural resources.


Analysis has shown that success of community-based projects often depends on the quality of leadership.  With this in mind, IAS has developed a Leadership and Management Training Program.  In 2009 this was funded by the Fijians Trust Fund and carried out in partnership with the Fijian Affairs Board in two provinces in Fiji.  

The Leadership and Management (L&M) training workshops are being conducted jointly by the Institute of Applied Sciences Environment Unit and the Ministry of Fijian Affairs, targeting traditional leaders in the Fijian communities.  The PRIDE project with the focus of raising awareness of conserving unique and endemic species is taking advantage of the opportunities during FLMMA workshops to spread the word about conservation of threatened resources.  This is being done with the international NGO RARE.

Climate Change

Climate Change

Institute’s expertise was also recognized by being subcontracted to implement the Coral Triangle Fiji project under the Asian Development Bank and as a local implementation partner (with PACE-SD)  in the US$20 million USAID project on climate change in the region.  The biodiversity assessment team also performed assessments under the IUCN.


Another major consultancy of F$200,000 was an assessment of climate change adaptive capacity in the Pacific region commissioned by the Australian government.  IAS lead a team of climate change researchers to develop a framework to assess adaptive capacity and applied it to several communities in eight Pacific countries which had participated in climate change adaptation projects conducted by various regional organization.

2009 - 2010

IAS successfully completed a community-based climate change adaptation project with USP’s PACE-SD.  Major follow-up funding for such work  was approved in principal from the European Union and AUSAid.  NZAID has  been supporting two major projects with IAS under its Government Agency Partnership Fund.  A water supply and wetland sewage system was developed for an entire village.  Additional funding was allocated to complete the work in 2010.

Through its climate change adaptation study, possible “soft” measures for coastal protection were evaluated.  These include mangrove and vetiver grass planting and coconut trunk wave barriers.  The partnership with New Zealand to develop a village waste management system has completed its design which treats “greywater’ at source and “blackwater” via a wetland.  The two-stage wetland development is nearing completion.  This is the first time in the Pacific that such a system has been developed for an entire village.

Postgraduate Research

Post-Graduate Research

IAS currently has a number of students undertaking postgraduate (Master of Science) level research and is engaged in on-going monitoring of management effectiveness. This research aims to be ‘needs driven’ and respondent to the questions that communities that are engaged in Community Based Natural Resource Management are asking. The projects currently underway include the following:


  • Herbivory-algal-coral cover  interaction. There has been much research in Fiji on the role of herbivorous fish in keeping in check algal overgrowth of reefs and thereby restoring the coral dominated balance of resistant and resilient reef ecosystems. A Masters student is expanding this work to four sites across Fiji that have well-established community-based managed areas. They are looking to prove the results chain of increased herbivorous fish leading to increased algal grazing rate leading to decreased biomass of algae in situ on the reef and finally to increased live coral cover. Fieldwork is now complete and initial analysis is showing some clear relationships between these parameters at each of the sites investigated. There is a paper in preparation from this study.
  • Spill-over of mature fish from community based marine protected areas. Whilst hypothesised extensively in the scientific literature, spill-over from ‘mature’ marine protected areas has been documented in only a few cases; and none in the case of the small community based protected areas in Fiji. The Masters student conducting this research has undertaken experimental fishing in a controlled manner inside, on the border of and at increasing distances from the no-take marine protected areas. Data collection is now complete and initial analysis being conducted in partnership with the University of Queensland, Australia is showing that spill over is clearly evident; with increased fish catches near the boundary of the no-take zone but decreasing with distance from the MPA.  There is a paper currently in preparation for this study.  This is an important result as it demonstrates the social and economic value of establishing community-based no take areas.  The study also has the additional benefit of collecting both catch-data and underwater visual census of fish from the same site at the same time.  We plan on examining and comparing these two methods for collecting in-situ data on the health of the fishery.
  • Scaling up community-based management. Under this project we undertook a reserve design planning process to scale up from an existing network of community based marine protected areas to an island-wide functional network following many of the protected area networking principles. This study used the latest reserve design planning tools (Marxan) in a participatory manner with the communities in question and resulted in modification of the configuration of the MPA network. We intend to expand the use of this approach to other coastal provinces under other projects we are implementing.
  • Examining the effects of watershed disturbance on small stream flora and fauna. As community-based resource management spreads beyond just the inshore marine areas, we recognised a need to examine the impacts of watershed disturbance through differing land use on the biodiversity of Fijian streams. A Masters student is working in 6 small catchments and data collection is now complete with analysis of results expected in early 2013.
  • Catch per Unit Effort (CPUE) monitoring is and continues to be done across around 14 of the more mature FLMMA sites including 8 IAS-partnered sites. There now exists an extensive dataset spanning several years. Quarterly reports in Fijian are prepared for the communities engaged in this work and we intend to undertake some longitudinal analysis over time for selected sites in 2013.
Watershed Management

Watershed Management

  • IAS also continued its work on community-based watershed management with projects in Ra, Nadroga and Kadavu.  Under the work communities learn about the importance of maintaining healthy watersheds and develop action plans to improve the management of the watershed.  This has involved the establishment of community tree nurseries and extensive reforestation of sensitive, erosion-prone areas.  A plant believed new to science was discovered in a vulnerable area of Kadavu.

IAS’ vision to extend its community-based adaptive management approach to watershed management was realized with the award in late 2009 of two major grants, one from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) under its Water and Nature Initiative to work in Kadavu and Nadroga and another from Conservation International to work in Ra.



Governance Enhancement

IAS continues to pioneer the use of participatory techniques and adaptive management to assist communities adopt good governance practices in developing, implementing and monitoring resource management plans. It continues to work with the USP Governance Program to study how Fijian villages can best govern themselves and in developing case studies in environmental governance.  The need for more effective village governance has been highlighted as one of the major needs for, among other things, better coastal management.  The other needs are subregional master planning and a special coastal commission to provide permits for developments near the coast.  Efforts were made in 2009 to set up mechanisms of cooperation with the Fiji government to achieve these ends.  A leadership and training program for traditional chiefs was implemented in two provinces in 2009



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Page updated: Wednesday, October 14, 2020
Institute of Applied Science
Faculty of Science and Technology
Private Bag, Laucala Campus,
Suva, Fiji.
Tel: (+679) 323 2965
Fax: (+679) 323 1534