Blue Carbon

Blue Carbon

Seagrass and Mangrove Research and Conservation

The importance of mangroves and seagrass ecosystems.

A heavy emphasis has been put on conserving coral reef ecosystems in the past and it has only become apparent and recognised in recent years how fundamentally significant mangrove forests, tidal wetlands and seagrass beds as a blue carbon sink. It has been discovered these underappreciated blue carbon ecosystems can store more carbon for longer (thousands of years) and at a far quicker rate than terrestrial forests. C3 has long been involved in seagrass and mangrove research and conservation and contributes to national and global knowledge about these critical systems. Mapping these ecosystems, documenting threats and establishing community monitoring programmes as well as campaigning for their inclusion in new and existing MPAs, forms a large part of the organisation’s work.

We work with the following agencies and organizations:
  • IUCN
  • FLMMA
  • Canada Fund for Local Initiatives
  • Australian Aid, Ministry of Agriculture
  • WWF South Pacific

In the areas we work, these ecosystems are critical.

They are important in the sustenance in the sustenance of coastal livelihoods, providing nursery grounds, feeding areas and shelter for hundreds of fish and invertebrate species. Furthermore, with the escalating impacts of climate change, they provide physical protection to vulnerable coastal communities from the increasingly frequent and severe typhoons. Throughout Macuata C3 is assisting communities establish native forest nurseries and replanting denuded coastal and upland forests as well as replanting mangroves and establishing MPAs focused on mangrove and seagrass ecosystems. With our hundreds of community volunteers and 800 Reef Rangers, we have huge capacity for replanting large swathes of coastal and upland forests at low cost.


Contact

C3 Fiji

24 Ritova Street, Naodamu, Labasa

C3 Fiji (Community Centred Conservation (Fiji) Limited), in accordance with the Companies Act, is registered as a non-profit organization in Fiji under the Registrar of Companies with Company Registration No. RCBS2014G3314.



Rural Entrepreneurs

Rural Entrepreneurs

Promoting Local Livelihoods

Tailor-made training for communities.

In order to conserve coastal resources for the long-term, the buy-in and motivation of local people is a fundamental factor.

C3 has conducted business feasibility studies in conjunction with household surveys and focus group interviews to determine the best livelihoods for specific communities. Livelihoods take time to develop, especially in rural communities with a local level of education and financial literacy, we find that set-up and intensive monitoring and support is required for a three-year term to ensure that businesses are financially viable and sustainable.

C3 focuses heavily on the engagement and training of women, unemployed youth and minority groups such as the LGBT community, to provide employment opportunities close to home rather to counteract the constant emigration from rural communities to urban centres and associated ‘brain drain’.

Our partners include:
  • USAID
  • Prins Bernmard Nature Fund
  • Ministry of Women
  • Ministry of Agriculture
  • Bees Abroad UK

C3’s approach focuses on year-on-year technical and financial support, refresher training, monitoring, and advice for people starting new livelihoods, as it is a well-known fact that most small businesses fail in the first two years.

In most communities in which we work, people are limited to fishing and farming, often for subsistence purposes. Diversification of household income increases communities’ resilience to the impacts of climate change on dwindling fisheries and helps them continue to provide for their families in times of environmental and economic shocks.

In only the past two years, C3 established 15 new rural enterprises, with at least 50% management by women and a strong emphasis on unemployed youth. These businesses are financially viable, and in particular, the organic honey is yielding substantial gains for the communities on a regular basis. Our next step is to assist with establishing a cooperative and professional packaging and marketing to secure regular supply to a growing list buyers, including exclusive resorts and restaurants.


Contact

C3 Fiji

24 Ritova Street, Naodamu, Labasa

C3 Fiji (Community Centred Conservation (Fiji) Limited), in accordance with the Companies Act, is registered as a non-profit organization in Fiji under the Registrar of Companies with Company Registration No. RCBS2014G3314.



Endangered Species

Endangered Species

Our Ridge-to-Reef Approach to Restoration

Monitoring the return of sea turtles to Kia island.

The iconic yet increasingly rare Humphead or Napoleon Wrasse (Chelinus undulatus) and Green and Hawksbill sea turtles are key flagship species for C3’s conservation campaigns. These species have been overexploited by communities for the international fish trade and traditional festivities respectively. Communities are engaged in outreach and monitoring programmes and C3 successfully worked with traditional leaders to support the 10-year moratorium on sea turtle hunting and create a ban in collection of the Humphead Wrasse. We continue to monitor their populations and protect sea turtle nesting beaches. In 2017, sea turtles returned to Kia island for the first time in decades to lay their eggs, under the protective eyes of the community. These kinds of conservation successes deeply inspire our staff and communities and can be upscaled and applied throughout the province, with the necessary financial support, having immediate and sustained impacts on endangered species populations.

Previous efforts by other NGOs have delivered cursory training to community members as Fish Wardens and briefed them in endangered species monitoring but C3’s work on the ground has revealed that despite publicity to the contrary, there are no current activities due to lack of follow-up support, equipment, and transport; and in some cases, endangered species were being incorrectly tagged, which was actually leading to maiming and potential death. This was shocking, and again reiterates the need for NGOs to take the necessary time and effort on-site to work with communities over the long-term and not just send in teams for brief training with no further contact.

We work with the following agencies and organizations:
  • Ford Motor Company
  • Mohamed Bin Zayed Endangered Species Fund
  • Ministry of Environment
  • Ministry of Fisheries
  • WWF South Pacific
  • Macuata Provincial council

C3 has gathered traditional ecological knowledge about fish and flagship marine species and integrates this into outreach campaigns about conservation. Furthermore, our islands are home to many endemic species which require habitat restoration and enhancement as well as population monitoring, using our Ridge to Reef approach.

We are focusing our restoration efforts on the Vunivia Catchment Area, part of the largest intact watershed on Vanua Levu, which connects with the high-value Cakua Levu reefs. The flora and vegetation here is part of Fiji’s last major system of mesic forest, consisting of a mosaic of vegetation types, including mesic sclerophyll forest, transition forest, stunted Dacrydium nidulum forest, mangrove forest, montane forest, brackish and freshwater wetlands, and disturbed landscapes. This is much more diverse than indicated by the previous “dry forest” label. The flora comprises more than 268 native species, several of which are rare or narrowly distributed.

C3 is working with traditional landowners to restore and extend these ecosystems. High-impact logging threatens the water quality and fisheries habitats in this region and therefore urgent action is needed by communities to protect their remaining forests if biodiversity and local livelihoods are to be sustained.

C3 has trained 300 women across Macuata in the use of fuel-efficient stoves and helping establish native tree nurseries and replanting programmes to reduce the impact of local communities on coastal and upland forests.


Contact

C3 Fiji

24 Ritova Street, Naodamu, Labasa

C3 Fiji (Community Centred Conservation (Fiji) Limited), in accordance with the Companies Act, is registered as a non-profit organization in Fiji under the Registrar of Companies with Company Registration No. RCBS2014G3314.



Marine Protected Areas

Marine Protected Areas

Sustainable Marine Protected Area Management

The only NGO working on-site in Macuata.

By 2020, the Fiji Government is committed to establishing an EEZ-wide network of Marine Managed and Protected Areas which represent 30% of the marine environment—an ambitious and important target. C3 is working to contribute to this goal but is also concerned about long-term sustainability of marine protected area management. So many MPAs are merely ‘paper parks’ and no positive impacts are being delivered on the ground in terms of fisheries management, habitat replenishment and conservation and community engagement in monitoring and management.

The coast of Macuata is bordered by Fiji’s incredible 150km-long Great Sea Reef (GSR) which is known to be the third largest consistent barrier reef in the world, a hotspot of marine biodiversity and provides for a significant proportion of Fiji’s fish. It is also renowned as home to the best fishers in the nation. However, as a result, it has over time been exposed to increasing fishing pressures from residents and outsiders of Macuata, as well as agricultural run off and sedimentation from loss of upland and coastal forests.

C3 is the only NGO working on-site with traditional leaders and communities to protect the Great Sea Reef, within the Macuata Qoli Qoli, or traditional fishing grounds. Although big international NGOs have been previously involved in establishment of these tabu areas, they have no physical presence on the ground to ensure sustainable local management. This is the critical role fulfilled by C3, as a permanent technical partner for the communities, with its office strategically placed in Labasa town.

Our award-winning documentary, produced in conjunction with Scripps, shows the challenges facing our communities. Watch it here.

A holistic stewardship model.

C3’s innovative and successful environmental stewardship model focuses on assessing the current functioning of MPAs in a holistic manner (traditional knowledge and tabus, governance, socio-economic and biodiversity assessments, financial sustainability) and then developing community capacity for governance and implementation of management plans.

C3’s programme is the only one to ensure delivery of key community services including diversified income generation, improvements in health (e.g. WASH programme) and education services, is key to ensuring MPAs benefit local populations and reducing unsustainable practices such as fish drives by communities when they are in need of cash.

Sustained, intensive outreach in the communities about fisheries regulations, climate change, species and habitats is a key focal area because only by fully understanding the purpose and objectives of MPAs can the community be fully motivated and mobilised to sustain them.

C3 has been supporting Kia’s MPA for the past 9 years, has helped establish Qaranvai mangrove MPA and currently assists with the management of 8 other Locally Managed Marine Protected Areas across Macuata province.

One of our key successes is reducing dependence of communities solely on fishing as a source of income. Building resilience to climate change is so essential in these communities who are at the forefront of environmental disturbances such as widescale coral bleaching, severe coastal erosion and more frequent and devastating cyclones.

C3 has now established 15 community enterprises across 5 communities and recruited and trained 30 Conservation Ambassadors, who are volunteers in their communities in charge of training and educating others in sustainable development and environmental protection. Furthermore, the immensely popular youth environmental leadership programme, the Reef Rangers, has a cohort of more than 800 members across 20 schools in Macuata province. Reef Rangers educate their own communities about key conservation issues and assist with practical activities such as beach clean-ups, seagrass monitoring, and mangrove reforestation.

C3 assisted with provision of more water storage facilities on Kia Island since islanders are suffering from more prolonged and intense droughts than in previous years. In conjunction, a WASH programme ensured that people were aware about correct water conservation, handling and hygiene to help prevent water-borne diseases. We also work with the Red Cross’ tuberculosis programme to spread awareness about minimizing risk of TB in remote communities throughout Macuata.

MPAs cannot be managed in isolation of terrestrial impacts, especially in small island developing states (SIDS), so C3 Fiji applies a Ridge to Reef approach and works with communities upstream to replant riparian vegetation and native montane forests. We partner with the Ministry of Fisheries, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Agriculture, Fiji’s Local Marine Management Areas (LMMA) network. Macuata Provincial Council, Wildlife Conservation Society and WWF South Pacific on these programmes.


Contact

C3 Fiji

24 Ritova Street, Naodamu, Labasa

C3 Fiji (Community Centred Conservation (Fiji) Limited), in accordance with the Companies Act, is registered as a non-profit organization in Fiji under the Registrar of Companies with Company Registration No. RCBS2014G3314.