USP Electronic Research Repository

A revegetation technique to prevent sediment damage to fringing reefs in Vanuatu

Comley, James (2011) A revegetation technique to prevent sediment damage to fringing reefs in Vanuatu. In: Catchment Management and Coral Reef Conservation: a practical guide for coastal resource managers to reduce damage from catchment areas based on best practice case studies. Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network and Reef and Rainforest Research Centre, Townsville, Australia. ISBN 06423222287

[img] PDF - Published Version
Download (5MB)


The steep weathered volcanic debris slopes of Aneityum, the most southern inhabited island of the Vanuatu archipelago, have suffered severe sediment erosion over the last 3,000 years. The original inhabitants, ‘Lapita Man’ (named after the distinctive Lapita pottery found throughout Melanesia), started exploiting hill slopes after clearing them with fire. The indigenous pioneer plant species, Acacia spirorbis, had evolved in the absence of fire and was regarded as the ideal plant to revegetate its slopes. However, the constant uncontrolled burning that had destroyed the forest also resulted in unstable soils, which readily eroded during tropical rains and resulted in the formation of very deep gullies. These increased sediment flows were transported to the coastal environment from the exposed gully walls and coated fringing reefs and beaches with thick red mud. This threatened the future of the coral reefs which were a particular attraction for tourists, especially those from the cruise ship industry which brought considerable economic benefits. The challenge was to develop sustainable and non-damaging procedures to stabilise the hill slopes and not damage the local agriculture.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GC Oceanography
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
Divisions: Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment (FSTE) > Institute of Applied Science
Depositing User: Ms Shalni Sanjana
Date Deposited: 25 Jun 2011 07:49
Last Modified: 09 Oct 2013 00:55

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Document Downloads

More statistics for this item...