Fiji tropical moist forests
Navatu Rock on Vanua Levu, Fiji
Location of the Fiji tropical moist forests (OC0105) in the Fijian islands.
Ecology
RealmOceanian
Biometropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests
BordersFiji tropical dry forests
Geography
Area10,088 km2 (3,895 sq mi)
CountriesFiji and Wallis and Futuna (Overseas territory of France)
Conservation
Conservation statusCritical/endangered[1]
Protected598 km² (6%)[2]

The Fiji tropical moist forests is a tropical moist forest ecoregion in Fiji and Wallis and Futuna. It covers the windward sides of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, Fiji's largest islands, as well as the smaller Fijian islands and the three islands that make up Wallis and Futuna, an overseas territory of France.

Geography

Fiji has more than 300 islands. Viti Levu and Vanua Levu are the largest, and together comprise 78% of Fiji's land area. The highest peak in Fiji is Mount Tomanivi (1,324 m) on Viti Levu. The islands are volcanic in origin, formed by the subduction of the Pacific Plate under the Australian Plate. The islands emerged from the sea 5 to 20 million years ago.[1]

Wallis and Futuna is made up of three islands, Uvea, Futuna, and Alofi. Futuna and Alofi lie close to one another, approximately 400 km northeast of Vanua Levu. Uvea, or Wallis, is northeast of Futuna and Alofi. The highest peak in the group is Mount Singavi (765 m) on Futuna.

Rotuma is a volcanic island 500 km north of Viti Levu and politically part of Fiji. It has an area of 47 km², and the highest elevation on the island is 250 metres.

Climate

The ecoregion has a humid tropical climate. Mean monthly temperatures range from 22 to 26 °C (72 to 79 °F) in January. Rainfall occurs throughout the year, and the prevailing winds are mostly from the southeast. Most of the ecoregion receives over 2,500 mm (98 in) of rain per year. Rainfall is higher on southeast-facing slopes, and the windward mountains receive 5000–10,000 mm of rainfall per year. The islands occasionally experience Tropical cyclones between January and April.[1]

The northwestern portions of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu are in the mountains' rain shadow, and receive less rain overall with a winter dry season. These areas are home to the Fiji tropical dry forests ecoregion.[1]

Flora

The three main plant communities in the ecoregion are lowland rain forest, montane rain forest, and cloud forest.[1]

Lowland rain forest predominates below 400 meters elevation on all the smaller islands, and in the southeast-facing lowlands of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. Common trees include Degeneria vitiensis, Pandanus joskei, Myristica macrantha, Endiandra gillespiei, Agathis macrophylla, Calophyllum vitiense, Canarium vitiense, Calophyllum neo-ebudicum, Syzygium spp., and Garcinia myrtifolia. Other lowland forest trees in Wallis and Futuna include Rhus taitensis, Elaeocarpus angustifolius, Elaeocarpus tonganus, Planchonella spp., Pometia pinnata, and Myristica fatua.

Montane rain forests are found on windy slopes from 400 to 600 meters elevation. Temperatures are 4 to 6º C cooler than in the coastal lowlands. The windy conditions creates a low, stunted forest characterized by the trees Agathis vitiensis, Podocarpus spp., Calophyllum vitiense, Endospemum macrophyllum, Myristica castaneifolia, Dysoxylum spp., and Metrosideros collina.

The cloud forests occur between 600 and 900 meters elevation on the larger Fijian islands and on Futuna. Rainfall is higher than the lowlands, exceeding 4500 mm per year in most areas. Temperatures are cooler, ranging from 10 to 20º C. The cloud forest trees form a dense canopy about seven meters high. Common trees include tree ferns (Cyathea spp.), Dysoxylum gillespianum, Hernandia moerenhoutiana, Fagraea spp., Syzygium spp., and Macaranga seemannii. Leptopteris ferns and the climbers Freycinetia spp. are abundant.[1]

Fauna

The ancestors of Fiji's land animals arrived via long-distance dispersal. There are many endemic species, and some are limited to one or two islands.

Fiji has 177 species of birds, including 31 endemic species. The islands have four endemic doves, the orange fruit dove (Ptilinopus victor), golden fruit dove (P. luteovirens), whistling fruit dove (P. layardi), and Barking imperial pigeon (Ducula latrans). The collared lory (Phigys solitarius), red-throated lorikeet (Charmosyna amabilis), and masked shining parrot (Prosopeia personata), are endemic; the red shining parrot (Prosopeia tabuensis) is a Fijian endemic that was introduced to Tonga in ancient times. The bar-winged rail (Rallus poecilopterus) is endemic to Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, and may be extinct.[1]

The silktails (Lamprolia) are a Fijian endemic genus with two species – the Taveuni silktail (Lamprolia victoriae) is limited to Taveuni, and the Natewa silktail (Lamprolia klinesmithi) to Vanua Levu. The long-legged warbler (Cincloramphus rufus) and pink-billed parrotfinch (Erythrura kleinschmidti) are also endemic.[1]

Bats are the only native terrestrial mammals in the ecoregion. The Fijian monkey-faced bat (Pteralopex acrodonta) is endemic, and the Fijian mastiff bat (Chaerephon bregullae) is found in the Fijian Islands and Vanuatu.[1]

Endemic reptiles include the Fiji crested iguana (Brachylophus vitiensis), Lau banded iguana (Brachylophus fasciatus), and Fiji snake (Ogmodon vitianus).

The endemic Fiji Ground Frog (Cornufer vitianus) and Fiji Tree Frog (Platymantis vitiensis) are the easternmost native amphibians in the Oceanian realm.[1]

See also: List of birds of Fiji

Protected areas

A 2017 assessment found that 598 km², or 6%, of the ecoregion is in protected areas.[2] Protected areas include Sovi Basin Protected Area (20.0 km²), Nadarivatu Forest Reserve, Tomaniivi Nature Reserve (11.04 km²), and Colo-i-suva Forest Reserve (4.97 km²) on Viti Levu, and the contiguous Ravilevu Nature Reserve (40.2 km²) and Bouma Lavena Recreation Reserve (37.69 km²) on Taveuni.[3]

External link

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Fiji tropical moist forests". Terrestrial Ecoregions. World Wildlife Fund.
  2. ^ a b Dinerstein, Eric; Olson, David; et al. (June 2017). "An Ecoregion-Based Approach to Protecting Half the Terrestrial Realm". BioScience. 67 (6): 534–545. doi:10.1093/biosci/bix014. PMC 5451287. PMID 28608869.CS1 maint: date and year (link) Supplemental material 2 table S1b.
  3. ^ UNEP-WCMC (2020). Protected Area Profile for Fiji from the World Database of Protected Areas, September 2020. Available at: www.protectedplanet.net