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Ethnobotanical importance of the coastal plant species of Rotuma Island

Rigamoto, Rejieli and Tyagi, Anand P. and Thaman, Randolph R. (2004) Ethnobotanical importance of the coastal plant species of Rotuma Island. The South Pacific Journal of Natural Sciences, 22 (1). pp. 23-27. ISSN 1013-9877

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The coastal plants of Rotuma have high cultural and ecological utility. Unfortunately, like most of the smaller islands in the tropical Pacific Ocean, Rotuma’s coastal littoral flora and vegetation has been extensively modified by human activity. This disturbance has led to the loss of much of the native vegetation that once covered the island. Rotuma’s coast is now almost entirely devoid of undisturbed native vegetation because of the high fertility of the island and the suitability of the coastal plains for human habitation and agriculture. The few remaining sites with relatively undisturbed native forests are primarily in those areas that are unsuitable for habitation and agriculture. Such areas are increasingly under threat due to the growing number of native pigsties, from which many escapees have been allowed to forage freely within the forests, killing shrubs and seedlings of forest species, particularly herbaceous under-story species. If allowed to continue, the coastal vegetation, the valuable plants found there and associated ethnobotanical knowledge will eventually be lost. Many littoral species of high cultural utility have already disappeared or are threatened because of many years of indiscriminate coastal deforestation without any effective restorative measures. The need for strategic planning and implementation of protective and restorative measures for Rotuma’s coastal littoral vegetation is, thus, an immediate priority. It is imperative that measures are formulated and implemented as soon as circumstances allow.

Item Type: Journal Article
Subjects: Q Science > QK Botany
Divisions: Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment (FSTE) > School of Geography, Earth Science and Environment
Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment (FSTE) > School of Biological and Chemical Sciences
Depositing User: Ms Neha Harakh
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2004 08:06
Last Modified: 17 Jul 2012 09:18

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