The proposed Kauri Reserve displays a species richness of over 70% of the total flora of Vanuatu. For a complete list of the observed species see Appendix A.
The Forest in the Kauri Reserve is composed of three main vegetation types: Maquis forest, Mixed lowland forest, and Agathis/Calophyllum forest. The Maquis Forest is a dry subtropical woodland on the western side of the reserve with a canopy reaching up to 6 meters in height. The mixed lowland rain forest are rather heterogeneous in composition and structure - less rich in species than the Agathis forests. They occupy the more fertile soils, and are more often modified by human activity and local agriculture. The Kauri forests are dominated by the endemic Agathis macrophylla. There are no extensive pure stands of Kauri, but the emergent crowns of the mature trees are commonly observed. These forests occur in submontane altitudes up to 500 m above sea level with an annual rainfall of +2000 mm.
This rapid assessment was the first step to record the floristic biodiversity found within the Kauri Reserve. In order to more accurately measure the species diversity, species density, basal area, and forest biomass an official forest assessment must be carried out. This forest assessment must follow international standards to quantify the forest structure and composition so that comparisons can be made between Kauri forests in other locations around Vanuatu and the Pacific.
The rapid assessment was planned to take place in five important sites of the reserve; the whitegrass area, kauri forest, non-kauri forest, the cave and the rivers as part of the Kauri reserve indicated in Kauri Reserve map produced in 1995 and contained in the existing Kauri Reserve management plan. However, it became clear that the reserve area has decreased in size and does not currently include the areas of the whitegrass site and the cave. Because of this, the rapid assessment only covers some kauri forest, non-kauri forest, whitegrass and the rivers of Umiteer and Rarokdom. However, given the geographic limitations and time constraints a wide range of species were observed during the three day rapid assessment. For a complete list of the observed species see Appendix B.
In general the Kauri Reserve forest is still intact and in found to be in a very good health. It is one of the most biodiverse primary forests the surveyor has had the opportunity to assess in Vanuatu. During the rapid assessment several endemic species were observed as well as several invasive species. Of note, species that threaten the forest ecosystem are Sus scrofa (wild pig) and Merrimia peltata an invasive vine that was observed creeping through the top of the forest canopy. It is recommended that an eradication plan is developed and implemented immediately before it widely spreads through the reserve area.
The communities surrounding the reserve are governed by the THARU Nuporop council. This council oversees...