National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan. | Land Portal

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January 2006
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Tonga’s biological diversity and natural resources are protected, conserved and enriched and are appreciated and enjoyed by her present and future generations and the rest of the world. The Guiding Principles are: Tonga has full sovereign rights over her biological diversity and natural resources. 2) The Government of Tonga takes the leading role to ensure the protection, conservation and sustainable management of its biodiversity, through effective governance and leadership and in full consultation with all stakeholders.The following 8 Theme Areas are defined: 1) Forest Ecosystems. Objective 1.1 is to arrest agro-deforestation and to minimize the loss and degradation of forest ecosystems and habitats as a result of agricultural expansion. To achieve this objective the following shall be envisaged: 1) Review forest act and legislations; 2) Discourage the felling of native forest species in agricultural lands; 3) Promote the replanting of trees along farm boundaries and the replanting with trees of degraded sites; 4) Review existing land-use plans and resource maps of all the main islands of Tonga and identify forest areas essential for biodiversity conservation and water catchment areas; 5) Promote the use of traditional and non-traditional agro-forestry systems of mixed species planting as buffer for protected and other sensitive areas including habitats for threatened species and water catchments; 6) Promote the replanting of coconuts in appropriate and previously cleared areas.Objective 1.2 is Integrated Land Use Planning. To ensure the optimal and sustainable allocation and use of Tonga’s biodiversity and natural resources. The Actions shall be as follows: 1) Develop and implement a national integrated land-use plan to ensure the sustainable allocation of land for all priority land use including agriculture, watersheds, forestry, settlement industries, waste disposal, infrastructure and the protection of habitats and ecosystems. 2) Review existing legislation and where necessary enact new one to support the development of an integrated land use plan and subsequent to implementation; 3) Establish a pilot project. 4) Support the implementation of the Sustainable Land Management Project and where possible, influence its design to promote the integrated approach to land use planning and management.Objective 1.3 is Sustainable Forest Management to ensure the sustainable management of Tonga’s natural forest resources. The Actions for this objective are: 1) Formulate and implement a national forest policy taking into account the results of the national forest inventory, the strategies proposed in this NBSAP and based on principles of sustainable forest and land use management. 2) Review and update forest legislation and effectively enforce it to support the implementation of the national forest policy and NBSAP. 3) Encourage the replanting of trees for fuel wood and for raw material for cultural, social and economic purposes. 4) strengthen the Ministry of Forests’ technical capacity in areas of forest management and science.Objective 1.4 pertains to Conservation Areas in order to improve the management of existing parks and reserves and, consistent with the integrated land use plan, to expand the conservation area network to cover a representative samples of all major terrestrial ecosystems. The Actions are defined as follows: 1) Conduct an ecological survey to identify, describe and map all the major terrestrial ecosystems comprising Tonga’s terrestrial environment. 2) Identify ecosystems of high conservation value and promote their conservation within the framework of an integrated national planning exercise. 3) Review the ‘Eua National Park Management Plan as part of the proposed national ecosystem conservation program, to integrate conservation and sustainable use objectives. 4) Facilitate the effective implementation of the ‘Eua National Park Management Plan. 5) Encourage and facilitate the involvement of local communities and resource owners in the conservation of areas and resources under their direct control. 6) Establish a national herbarium targeting threatened endemic and culturally important species to complement in-situ conservation initiatives.Objective 1.5 concerns Information, Research and Monitoring. To promote the effective and systematic collection and management of relevant information through scientifically designed research studies and surveys. The actions are outlined as follows: 1) Support the implementation of an ecological survey to identify, describe and map all major terrestrial ecosystems comprising Tonga’s terrestrial biodiversity. 2) Ensure the proper collation and storage of existing and new data on Tongan biodiversity in properly designed and managed databases for efficient access and retrieval to support conservation planning and decision-making. 3) Coordinate all environment-related scientific studies and investigations by private and government investigators to ensure non-duplication, legitimacy, relevance to Tonga’s priority research needs, and to protect against the loss of sensitive biodiversity information. 4) Initiate and maintain an on-going program of monitoring of key threats to terrestrial ecosystem health and ensure the regular reporting of monitoring results to appropriate stakeholders and decision-makers.Objective 1.6 lays down provisions relating to Public Awareness and Education. To increase public understanding of and support for the conservation and sustainable use of forest biodiversity. The Actions are described as follows: 1) Initiate a program of public awareness and education using all types of media outlets to promote: a) the importance of Tonga’s forest ecosystems to the ecological sustainability of Tonga’s socio-economic development; b) public understanding of the adverse impacts of unplanned agricultural expansion on Tonga’s biodiversity, c) understanding of the cultural and economic importance of threatened endemic forest tree species. 2) Conduct awareness activities targeting local farmers to promote tree planting and agro-forestry systems. 3) Support on-going efforts to strengthen and or integrate conservation and sustainable development principles into school curricula.2) Marine Ecosystems. Objective 2.1 deals with the Managing Impacts of Land-based Activities. To minimize the adverse impact of land based activities on coastal and marine species and ecosystems. The Actions are: 1) Strengthen existing legislation and or introduce new ones to support effective EIA procedures as a means of regulating sand, mining, land reclamation, coral quarrying, mangrove destruction and waste disposal. 2) Implement Environmental Impact Assessments procedures to assess and mitigate against adverse impacts of development activities on coastal environments. 3) Discourage unsustainable agricultural practices including the use of inappropriate agricultural chemicals. 4) Reduce discharge of wastes to coastal areas from point source pollution. Objective 2.2 concerns Marine Conservation Areas. To expand the existing network of protected areas to effectively conserve major coastal and marine ecosystems and habitats of biological and socio-economic value. Objective 2.3 deals with Sustainable management of marine biodiversity. To promote the use of environmentally sound practices in the management of marine resources. Objective 2.4 regards Information, Research and Monitoring. Objective 2.5 is on Public Awareness and Education.3) Species conservation. The Objectives are as follows: 3.1 Protection of priority species; 3.2 Sustainable use and management of species. Objective 3.3 Invasive species; 3.4. Research and Monitoring; 3.5 Public Awareness and Education; 3.5 Public Awareness and Education.Theme Area 4 is on Agro-Biodiversity. The objectives are outlined as follows: 4.1. Conservation and sustainable use of threatened agro-biodiversity; 4.2 Research and development; 4.3 Public Awareness and Education; Capacity Building. Theme Area 5 regards Local Communities and Civil Society. Theme Area 6 concerns Access and Benefit Sharing from the use of Genetic resources and traditional ecological knowledge. Theme Area 7 pertains to Mainstreaming Biodiversity Conservation. Theme Area 8 is on Financial Resources and Mechanisms.

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