Samoa Conservation Society

Conserving Samoa's Natural Heritage


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Samoa kick starts first Carbon Offsets Project to support rainforest restoration

carbon-offset-team-2016Apia 12/10/2016 – The first Carbon Offset Project (COffset) for Samoa kick started its pilot phase this week  in the villages of Poutasi, Saleilua and Saaga. Initiated by the Samoa Conservation Society in partnership with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) the Project pilots activities to offset carbon emissions from the transport sector, with a focus on air travel.

James Atherton, the Project Team Leader says the concept of the project is very simple. “All fossil-fuel powered vehicles including commercial ariplanes emit CO2 during operation. If you wanted to be “Carbon Neutral” you could then pay a carbon offset, in a sense you are paying for the emissions you are contributing to. Your payment would then be used in a project meant to reduce or sequester greenhouse gas emissions.”

Many airlines now have a “carbon offset” option when you book your flight. According to Atherton, because climate change is a non-localized problem, it doesn’t matter where the emissions are reduced. Greenhouse gases spread evenly throughout the atmosphere and reducing them anywhere contributes to protecting the climate. The same method can be used to offset the annual mileage accumulated by an automobile, or the emissions of a stationary source such as a power plant or even office power usage.

The COffset pilot phase began initial activities earlier this year funded by the carbon offset payments of three local donors to start the planting of over 500 trees at the Ole Pupu Pue National Park.

“We are aiming to offset 100,000 kg CO2 from air travel of 3 private donors. Samoa’s new COFFset project will help to restore our degraded forests, own up to our responsibilities, and involve communities through youth engagement,” said Atherton.

The initial phase of the project is implemented through the villages of Poutasi, Saleilua and Saaga. Staff from the Society and MNRE are working with young people and members of the community to replant and maintain areas replanted under COffset.

“Young people from the three villages are being trained in tree propagation and forest restoration and are doing all the restoration work,” Atherton said.

Forests in Samoa as in the Pacific continue to decline as a result of various threats these include logging, agricultural activity, the spread of invasive species and extreme weather events, especially cyclones. Samoa’s forest cover has gone down from around 75% in the 1950’s to less than 60% today. Some experts believe that a quarter of remaining forest is highly degraded and dominated by invasive plants such as fa’apasi, tamaligi, pulu vao, and pulu mamoe.

By focusing on replanting and restoring native forests, the project will also assist in promoting and preserving habitat and food for our native biodiversity including birds, flying foxes, reptiles and invertebrates which evolved with native plants and forests.

According to the President of Samoa Conservation Society Sala Josephine Stowers the project marks the beginning of what the Society hopes would be larger scale initiative in Samoa. “This pilot phase will demonstrate at a small scale the value of carbon offsetting and the involvement of communities in reforestation, essentially it paves the way for a larger project that targets more communities.”

For more information, contact:

Christine Tuioti, Samoa Conservation Society. E: conservesamoa@gmail.com

For more information on SCS see https://samoaconservationsociety.wordpress.com/

Moeumu Uili, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment

For more information on MNRE see: http://www.mnre.gov.ws/


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Samoa Conservation Society Open Day – members and friends in Action!


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Samoa Conservation Society Open Day – a hit with the Forest Heroes!

Mt Vaea was alive with green activities as the Samoa Conservation Society held their open day on Saturday 13 June.

Over 50 society members, their families and friends gathered to celebrate the Society and contributed to efforts by the Government and partners to restore the Mt Vaea Reserve.

The Mt Vaea Reserve was established in 1978, one of the first in the country, is a popular tourist spot due to its close proximity to town, the tomb of Robert Louis Stevenson and its cultural placement in the oral history of Samoa.

“We are very pleased with the turnout today. This is our first major event and I’m very happy that many parents came and brought their children”, says Sala Josephine Stowers-Fiu, President of the Samoa Conservation Society.

“It is a good day for the forest and for our efforts to support the Government restore our national heritage. We need to continue conservation efforts in all our communities, such as planting of trees in order to regenerate the forests. The trees are the lungs of the earth, and everyone on this planet need this”, she adds.

The Samoa Conservation Society is a local environment NGO that is working to save the Manumea, Samoa’s national bird. The Manumea requires good forest to survive and this is one of the aim of the Society is to save Samoan species by saving forests and working with communities to protect them.

Members were able to plant over two-hundred native plants to replace the invasive trees that have taken over much of the Mt. Vaea Reserve. Five tree species have taken over the Mt Vaea.

“These invasive trees are fast growing, they replace our native species”, says James Atherton, SCS member and organiser of the event.

“To restore this Reserve requires all of our help, and the Society and its members are pleased to contribute in a small way towards a big task”, he adds.

“I’m really pleased that I brought my children to Mt Vaea and they got a chance to plant native species. My daughter planted nine trees”, says Leatigaga Mark Bonin.

The children were not left idle, as they were split into three teams to explore some of the species. Team Forest Heroes and Conservation Avengers did some challenging activities including identifying tree species and learning more about what is a native species and what is not.

The Samoa Conservation Society will be holding another activity next month and welcome all the members of the public to join them. A fun quiz night is being planned and there will be plenty of conservation information to help everyone become a Samoan environment hero.

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40 kilos of rubbish on World Oceans Day!

Members of the Samoa Conservation Society collected 40 kilograms of rubbish along the Taumeasina foreshore yesterday afternoon. This was part of the World Oceans Day celebrations, where the global community undertake various activities to commemorate the importance of oceans in our lives and our planet. The theme of Healthy Ocean, Healthy Planet remains a challenge if the amount of rubbish that was collected is an indication of how things are like.

The Samoa Conservation Society teamed up with SPREP (Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme) and the Pualele Outrigger Canoe Club to action this initiative. This is part of a regional campaign where SPREP is trying to measure and determine the origin of most of the rubbish or marine litter in the Pacific.

From observations yesterday, most of the rubbish were bottle tops from soft-drinks and beer and cigarette butts. Broken bottles and glass were also very common, as were bits of styrofoam cups and plates that are used for take away food and coffee.

The activity shows that there is a need for a campaign to stop people from discarding their rubbish, however small, on our environment, especially near coastal areas where king-tides are known to occur. These rubbish will end up in the sea and will affect marine life and eventually will affect us. We all want a healthy planet, a healthy Pacific Ocean and healthy communities. For this to occur – it needs to start with us.

Have a great World Oceans Day and we would like to thank all our members that joined us for this event. Look forward to your support and attendance at the Mt Vaea National Park Families & Friends Day this Saturday 13th June, 2015.

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World Oceans Day 2015 clean-up at Taumeasina

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James Atherton showing some of the rubbish collected

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Stuart Young happy collecting rubbish at World Oceans Day!

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Trashing it away!

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Weighing the rubbish haul from World Oceans Day!

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Some of the SCS members volunteering for the World Oceans Day!

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Some of the rubbish collected for the World Oceans Day activity

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Mel Bradley showing the bottle caps collected. Bottle caps were the most common litter along the beach-front

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One of our volunteers recording the various rubbish collected for World Oceans Day


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Celebrating World Oceans Day – members welcome!

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On June 8th – everyone will be Celebrating the World Oceans Day! The theme of the Day is Healthy Ocean, Healthy Planet. We would like to be part of this celebrations and we invite you and your families to join us.

Our Ocean: The Pacific Ocean is our life. It is the source of our inspirations and our cultures. It is the sacred burial ground of the footprints of our fore-parents during their journey of discovery of the islands in the Pacific Ocean.

 Today, the sacred burial ground of our fore-parents is being challenged by the threats created by us and by those beyond our Pacific Ocean. 

This Monday – June 8th, we invite you to Taumeasina for an hour of your time to help clean up the Bay area. We will work in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and the Pualele Outrigger Canoe Club to celebrate the World Oceans Day. We start at 1.00-2.00 pm – all the equipment will be provided – just your presence and enthusiasm needed. If you need information about how to get there or more about World Oceans Day – please do not hesitate to contact Posa Skelton (tel. 7651028).

 Thank you and counting on your support for this great event. 

#WOD2015


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Samoa Conservation Society Members and Friends Get-Together – June 13th, Plant a Tree for Life!

WifitreeO2We are planning our first SCS Members Get-Together in June and we invite all our members, their families and friends to join us at the Mt Vaea National Reserve in Vailima. A programme is being put together and will be shared as soon as it is completed.

“Imagine if trees gave free wifi. We’d all be planting like crazy. It’s a pity they only give us the oxygen we breathe.”

Come and make some oxygen by planting a tree. Together we can build a forest that can fuel the nation.

For more information contact us – samoaconserve@gmail.com