School of Geography, Earth Science and Environment


Contact Information:


Phone: +679 32 31703
Office: Room 3, SGESE Building, Lower Campus

Research Interests

Dr Eric Katovai joined USP in February 2019 after working for Academia in Papua New Guinea for 13 years. Dr Katovai is an Environmental Biologist with specialty in the area of ecosystem functioning, plant ecology, and conservation and restoration. His current research engagements cover themes on Biodiversity, Climate change, Community and Restoration Ecology, and Land use changes and landscape management in Tropical forests in Southeast Asia and Oceania. His research interest spans from examining biodiversity, vegetation dynamics and ecosystem functioning in human-altered landscapes to land-use management and restoration of highly degraded forests in Oceania. Dr Katovai has published a number of scientific papers and also a reviewer in a number of high impact International Journals, as well as in regional journals. Dr Katovai received a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Education from the Pacific Adventist University (Papua New Guinea), a Master of Science from the University of Queensland (Australia) and a PhD in Tropical Ecology from James Cook University (Australia).

Current Research Projects

i.             2019 Contextualising Land-use management in Logged forests for promoting livelihood benefits and biodiversity conservation in Marovo Lagoon, Solomon Islands. Funded by CEPF, IUCN

ii.            2019 Varirata National Park CEPA-UNDP Biodiversity Conservation and Management Project in collaboration with Pacific Adventist University and Conservation and Environmental Protection Authority, PNG. Funded by GEF

iii.           2017 Present. Reducing the Global Impacts of Rapid Infrastructure Expansion in collaboration with the Centre for Tropical and Environmental and Sustainability Science, James Cook University, Cairns. Australia

iv.           2018 Present Restoration of logged forests in Solomon Islands.

Dr Katovai is looking forward to collaborating with Academics, Researchers, Non-government and Government organizations in the region on projects associated with his areas of expertise.

Current Research Students


Tyson Ghera (Masters in Philosophy Candidate Applied Biology) Pacific Adventist University, PNG

Challis Pulotu (Masters in Philosophy Candidate Environmental Science) Pacific Adventist University, PNG


Dr Katovai is available to supervise Postgraduate Research Students who are interested in pursuing research within his areas of expertise.

Selected Publications

Katovai et al., (2018). Potential Restoration Approaches for Heavily Logged Tropical Forests in the Solomon Islands. Edited chapter in SHAPING THE FUTURE OF SMALL ISLANDS: Roadmap for sustainable development (In press).

Katovai et al., (2017). The database of the PREDICTS (Projecting Responses of Ecological Diversity in Changing Terrestrial Systems) project" Ecology and Evolution, 00: 144.

Katovai, E., Sirikolo, M., Srinivasan, U., Edwards, W., & Laurance, W. F. (2016). Factors influencing tree diversity and compositional change across logged forests in the Solomon Islands. Forest Ecology and Management, 372, 53-63.

Katovai, E., Edwards, W., Laurance, W.F., (2015). Dynamics of logging in Solomon Islands: the need for restoration and conservation alternatives. Tropical Conservation Science 8, 718731.

Katovai, E., Katovai, D., Edwards, W., Laurance, F., (2015). Forest structure, plant diversity and local endemism in a highly varied New Guinea landscape. Tropical Conservation Science 8, 284300.

Katovai et al., (2014). The PREDICTS database: a global database of how    local terrestrial biodiversity responds to human impacts. Ecology and Evolution 4, 47014735.

Katovai, E., Burley, A., Mayfield, M. M., (2012). Understory plant species and functional diversity in             the degraded wet tropical forests of Kolombangara Island, Solomon Islands. Biological Conservation 145, 214-224.

Katovai, E., Katovai, D., (2012). Forest gaps: A blessing in disguise? A review on gap dynamics, human interpolations and interventions. Science in New Guinea 32, 4050.

Katovai, E. (2010). Species and structural diversity of key flora communities within the Naoro-Brown catchment area, West Koiari region, Papua New Guinea (PNG) Research, Science & Technology Conference proceedings.



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School of Geography, Earth Science and Environment
Faculty of Science, Technology & Environment
The University of the South Pacific
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Suva, Fiji.
Tel: (+679) 323 2542
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