Date of this Version
Conservation is essentially a social activity – it is about, by and for people. Managing invasive species on islands to reduce their “community effects” (that is, effects on communities of people as well as on communities of plants and animals) makes good sense. Consequently, many demonstration projects supported as part of the Pacific Invasives Initiative involve social and economic objectives as well as biological ones. In New Caledonia, for example, dialogue between conservation agencies and local tribes about a proposed pest mammal control project on Mont Panié has been taking place for nearly 10 years. As well as being involved in pest control activities to achieve biodiversity conservation outcomes, there is particularly strong local support for a proposed project to reduce feral pig (Sus scrofa) impacts in tribal gardens. It is anticipated that reduced pig impacts will lead to important improvements in peoples’ livelihoods. A proposal to eradicate invasive cane toads (Bufo marinus) from Viwa Island in Fiji to protect an endangered ground frog was modified following consultation with local residents to first include the eradication of feral cats (Felis catus), feral dogs (Canis familiaris), and rats (Rattus spp.). These preliminary eradications were undertaken by the residents, with training and support from eradication specialists. Viwa islanders now have the knowledge and skills to ensure their island remains free of these pests. Also, Fiji Vatu-I-Ra Island is an important seabird breeding site. Local residents gave their support for rats to be eradicated from the island. Several people were trained and participated in the eradication operation. In addition to removing predation pressure on nesting seabirds and creating opportunities for an eco-tourism business, another early outcome has been increased measures by the owners to protect the island from further human-induced impacts. These and other demonstration projects are discussed to illustrate attempts at achieving biological, social and economic objectives through managing invasive species on islands.