By Elaine Vaina
| October 07, 2014
As part of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s ongoing conservation efforts in the Melanesia region, a team of internationally renowned scientists, WCS staff and students have began a month of biodiversity field surveys of the forests of Central Manus Province and Mussau Island in New Ireland Province (NIP).
Under the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) project the team (pictured) has currently set up camp at Mt Sabomu in the Pobuma LLG, on the south coast of Manus Island.
The team has already come across some unusual looking and scarce species including the Tube-nosed bat and Bumble bee gecko, that are present in the remaining unlogged forest areas of Manus.
Over in New Ireland province, the Community Engagement team have undertaken two stakeholder consultations in Kavieng. They have also made two visits to Mussau Island and are now on their way to conduct a participatory research action exercise on the island before the biodiversity survey kicks off next week (14th October).
WCS will be integrating local knowledge together with the scientist’s biological data in order to develop a community based conservation plan for the island. The knowledge within local communities will be used to map the condition of forest cover, reefs, sea-grass beds, and other important resources.
The combination of local knowledge and scientific surveys will be used to strengthen the management of natural resources in these areas.