In Samoa’s efforts to ensure that its critical landscapes are protected, there is an integrated focus by national government and funding partners on landscape management to reduce land degradation and promote nature conservation while increasing sustainable local livelihoods.
The rehabilitation of a Plant Nursery at Vailima is one of the efforts by the Government of Samoa and the United Nations Development Program (U.N.D.P) to address the local communities land degradation issue through seedling rearing and supply.
The Vailima Plant Nursery, a Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment initiative under its Water Resources Division was recently refurbished through financial assistance from the U.N.D.P-G.E.F and Samoa Government funded ‘Strengthening Multi Sectoral Management of Critical Landscapes (S.M.S.M.C.L) Project’.
The rehabilitation of the Nursery serves the purposes of both M.N.R.E’s Water Resources Division and the S.M.S.M.C.L Project in that it will improve services in seedling rearing and supply as well as cater for the increasing number of rehabilitation and watershed management projects within the areas of the Apia Catchment Basin - a key S.M.S.M.C.L Critical Landscape focus Area.
Watershed catchment areas are a significant part of Samoa’s landmasses that are expected to ensure the sustainability of both surface and groundwater supply. If not properly cared for these critical areas can take a turn for the worse in extremes of weather, with severe flooding of the Apia area witnessed in 2012 as a result of Cyclone Evan, attesting to poor management of the upper ridges of Apia.
The severe flooding of Apia in 2012 is estimated to have cost up to 100 million tala in lost property (there were several deaths), and is a direct result of the main river tributaries bursting their banks and causing mayhem, with the clearing of trees for food and housing the main contributor.
Planting and management of trees within watershed areas is a national government priority in its pursuit of providing and caring for its people and communities.
Enabling communities easy access to tree seedlings for replanting and rehabilitation of these critical areas is a vital step towards addressing the long term restoration of watershed areas.
The sustainable management and rehabilitation of watershed areas is a key method in achieving S.M.S.M.C.L’s efforts to strengthen local capacities, incentives and actions for integrated landscape management to reduce land degradation and greenhouse emissions. This also allows S.M.S.M.C.L to promote conservation at the same time as enhance sustainable livelihoods.
S.M.S.M.C.L Project Manager Seumalo Afele Faiilagi emphasized that “the new refurbished nursery is an asset to the Project as it fulfills a key component of its community forest and water integrated rehabilitated/reforestation programs.”
At the recent launch of the refurbished tree nursery, M.N.R.E Chief Executive Officer Suluimalo Amataga Penaia reiterated the role of government to support policies and activities contributing to the conservation and building resilience of water catchment areas, and working with partner U.N.D.P to address these environment issues.
U.N.D.P Resident Representative Lizbeth Cullity is confident that the objectives of the Project will be achieved and advocates for stakeholders to be responsible for project outcomes, to manage the nursery properly and especially to plant the tree seedlings at these critical water catchment areas to help stop land degradation.
The Vailima Nursery is currently being operated and managed by the M.N.R.E Water Resources Division in collaboration with the S.M.S.M.C.L Project and will supply the Project’s community rehabilitation programs at the Project’s priority sites.
The S.M.S.M.C.L Project is a five year project funded by the Government of Samoa and U.N.D.P-GEF. It will assist the Government of Samoa achieve its long-term goal of productive landscapes protected and sustainably managed to mitigate land degradation and to increase soil carbon sequestration so as to contribute to poverty alleviation, mitigation and adaptation to climate change impacts. The project will also contribute to global environmental benefits by overcoming barriers identified.