Viti Levu Southern Highlands

Year of compilation: 2006

Site description
The IBA is mostly a chain of hills and low mountains, rising to the mountains of Makuluva (615m) and Nakorolo (860m) in Namosi, and Nakobalevu (464m) and Korobaba (422m) in the east.

Key biodiversity
Long-legged Warbler has been confirmed at a couple of sites within the IBA.  Frinedly Ground-dove and Pink-billed Parrotfinch are present, but scarce while Black-faced Shrikebill are regularly recorded at a number of sites.  24 of the Restricted Range species present on Viti Levu (25 in total) can be found on this site.

Other Biodiversity.  Namosi is the best known site for the endemic Fijian Burrowing Snake.  A skink, similar to the Turquoise Tree Skink, has been recorded here.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Logging, Agricultural Encroachment, Invasive Alien Species (rats, mongoose, vines, etc), Mineral extraction.

Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
The IBA is threatened by logging and, in places, by mining.  A large open-cast mine has been proposed in Namosi where the bedrock contains copper and gold ore in quantities which would make such a mine commercially viable only if prices rise.  Small-scale logging occurs in scattered places across the IBA.  Much of the Garrick Memorial Reserve was illegally logged in the 1980s.  The biggest problem with selective logging is creating access to invasive alien species, such as mongoose and black rats.  Some natural forest has been clear-felled and planted with mahogany but his practice has been discontinued in recent years.  Agriculture is expanding up the foothills in many areas.  The Savura and Vago Forest Reserves act as a water catchment for Suva and have been protected from logging since 1963.  One new conservation area has been developed: the forest area 200m each side of the upper Navua river from Nabukelevu to Wainadiro is leased by Rivers Fiji and designated as Fiji's first Ramsar site.

Habitat and land use
The hills and low mountains are covered by lowland rainforest.  Many of the isolated hills and low mountains, such as Korobaba, have stunted vegetation because of the shallowness of the soil, exposure to strong winds and the Massenerhebung effect of lower altitudinal zones on smaller mountains.  Much of the IBA is unlogged because of steep slopes, but logging roads are scattered across the area, especially at low altitudes.  A few small areas have been planted with mahogany.  The site is bordered, to the west by logged forest, to the south by the coastal agricultural belt and to the north by the agriculture along the Waimanu river valley.  Toe the east there are settlements on the edge of Suva, and the mahogany plantations of the Colo-i-Suva Forest Park.

Land ownership
Land tenure is mostly Native Lands, with 18 small Freehold Lands (totalling about 2,031ha) and five Crown lands (1,177ha).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Viti Levu Southern Highlands. Downloaded from on 07/03/2021.