The Fiji Islands are home to an extraordinary range of animals and plants. Some species such as the Giant Fiji Beetle (Xixithrus sp.) and the Fiji Tree Frog (Platymantis vitiensis) can only be found in these group of islands. These two rare organisms and a significant percentage of unique species are threatened or endangered and in critical need of effective conservation measures to ensure their survival.

A collaborative project was initiated by the Department of Natural Sciences of Unitec in collaboration with the Institute of Applied Sciences and South Pacific Herbarium of the University of the South Pacific to address biodiversity conservation planning and management of the Fiji Islands starting in 2012.

In recognition of the advantage of presenting information in a Geographic Information System and the need to ensure sustainability in this effort, the project was implemented with the objectives to:

  • Address the critical need for capability enhancement of IAS/USP staff to ensure sustainability
  • Develop useful spatial models showing the status of key indicator species
  • Derive useful information for supporting conservation and planning interventions

Workshops and Modelling
A series of workshops and online collaboration sessions on learning spatial analytical skills, species distribution modelling and other relevant GIS tools were conducted using a set of GIS exercises.

These exercises were step by step procedures designed to serve as a printed manual and focussed on enhancing ArcMap skills and relevant modelling packages.

eMedia Development
In order to make available the lessons developed as well as support future workshops, a set of tutorial material with screen interaction videos based on the exercise documents were created and are made available in this site. Also made available are some modelling results that are in the process of being published in scientific journals and as part of the thesis or dissertation of the researchers in Fiji.

Research trips to Fiji were funded by the Unitec Research Fund, Faculty of Social and Health Sciences Research Fund, PADI Foundation Grant, Prof. Linton Winder’s Professorial Fund. The generation of this ePress document was supported by the eMedia Fund 2013.