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Title:Sustainable Development for Fiji’s People
EditPhoto Description:Creating a conservation corridor in the Sovi Basin
EditImage Url:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_12594089.jpg
EditImage Description:Girl, Nadakuni Vllage
EditPhoto Credit:© Levi S. Norton
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The Sovi Basin is Fiji’s largest remaining undisturbed lowland forest, providing fresh water to tens of thousands of people.



It is located on t​he island of Viti Levu, which is home to 590,000 people — more than 70% of Fiji’s population. In recent years, the Sovi Basin has been under extreme threat from logging and agricultural land conversion. The loss of Fiji’s essential natural capital to logging and other pressures threatens its economy, people’s livelihoods and local culture.



Our role

Since 2003, CI has been working to conserve the island’s forests, which function as vital freshwater watersheds, by supporting the creation and management of interlinked terrestrial and marine protected areas. Around 87% of all land in Fiji is communally owned by indigenous landowners, so conservation initiatives are implemented with the consent of indigenous resource owners. ​Together with our partners, CI has conducted research to improve priority-setting and inform conservation management and policy decisions to support human well-being in Fiji.


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Edit Item Title:Sovi Basin Protected Area
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Edit Item Text:The Sovi Basin Protected Area is the central focus of our work in Fiji. Through community engagement and support, CI helped to establish the 16,340-hectare (40,377-acre) Sovi Basin Protected Area through a 99-year lease with iTaukei Lands Trust Board and Sovi Basin landowners. This lease represents an important step toward creating an innovative tool that conserves habitat while providing economic and social benefits for development in Fiji.
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Edit Item Title:Local involvement
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Edit Item Text:Economic incentives motivate and enable indigenous landowners to protect land, while legal rights ensure they may still use protected areas for traditional food gathering and fishing purposes. The conservation lease provides a trust fund, set up by CI with funding from the project’s key donor, FIJI Water, a premier bottled water company and a large employer in Fiji. The trust fund provides a stable financial mechanism to fulfill obligations of the lease, such as payment for foregone timber royalties, providing community development opportunities and implementing the co-management plan for the protected area.
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Edit Item Title:Expand impact
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Edit Item Text:Given the structure of land and resource ownership by indigenous populations and CI’s focused work with rural communities, CI is well positioned to work with decision-makers in national climate planning to incorporate climate change assessment and risk reduction efforts into conservation plans. In particular, CI will focus on building community capacity to pursue sustainable agriculture practices and community management of conservation sites.
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EditImage Alt Text:Bamboo boat on the Sovi River.
EditTitle:By the numbers
EditSubtitle:99-year lease
EditText:Sovi Basin landowners and the iTaukei Lands Trust Board entered a 99-year lease to protect the Sovi Basin.
EditPhoto Credit:© Levi S. Norton
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    Programs

    Our work in the Sovi Basin, Yaqara Valley, Nakauvadra and Nakorotubu Range represent the initial steps toward the establishment of the Viti Levu Conservation Corridor — a network of linked terrestrial protected areas and locally managed marine areas, from ridge to reef, that will help secure both conservation and human well-being in Fiji for future generations.

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      EditSection Title:Nakauvadra Community Based Reforestation Project
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        EditImage Description: Reforestation site at Vatukacevaceva at the edge of the Nakauvadra Range, Fiji. © Conservation International/photo by Peg Arrington
        EditText: Since 2009, CI has worked in partnership with the traditional landowners of the Nakauvadra Range to reforest 1,135 hectares (2,805 acres) of degraded grasslands with hardwood timber and native species. This will expand forest cover and create a 'green wall' around the cloud forest ecosystems in the high elevation areas of the range. CI is also working with communities to develop new livelihood activities, such as beekeeping and fish and poultry cottage industries, and has provided training to farmers on sustainable agricultural practices.
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        EditPhoto Credit:© CI/photo by Peg Arrington
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          EditSection Title:Sovi Basin Protected Area Trust Fund
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            EditImage URL: /SiteCollectionImages/ci_86838227.jpg
            EditImage Description: A family gathers fresh water near their village in the Sovi Basin, Fiji. © Levi S. Norton
            EditText: To ensure that long-term conservation can be achieved and financed in the Sovi Basin beyond the 99-year lease, CI has established the Sovi Basin Trust Fund. The trust fund is a sustainable financing mechanism that will meet all obligations and activities under the lease, such as ensuring land rents to communities, compensating communities for foregone timber royalties, providing alternative economic opportunities and facilitating a co-management plan for the protected area.
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            More of Our Work Links

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            First Image

            EditTitle:Climate
            EditImage:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_30785027.jpg
            EditLink:/what/Pages/Climate.aspx
            EditImage Alt Text:Night falls over Rio de Janeiro. © Nikada

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            EditTitle:Science and Innovation
            EditImage:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_80568511.tif
            EditLink:/how/pages/science-and-innovation.aspx
            EditImage Alt Text:Scientists set a camera trap. © Benjamin Drummond

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            EditTitle:The Ocean
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            EditLink:/what/Pages/oceans.aspx
            EditImage Alt Text:Coral reef in Viti Levu, Fiji, Oceania. © William Crosse