Distribution and Diversity of Fiji's Terrestrial Herpetofauna: Implications for Forest Conservation
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In 2003 The Wildlife Conservation Society attempted to evaluate the conservation status of Fiji's natural forests including identifying a series of biological provinces (based on the distribution and endemism of a number of terrestrial taxa) in which some form of conservation area would need to be established or maintained. A combination of literature surveys, consultations with local researchers, and targeted field surveys was used to identify herpetological provinces within Fiji. With the exception of the iguanas (restricted to dry forest habitats), the frogs, and one of the skink species (restricted to wet forest habitats), the herpetofauna of Fiji is widespread in terms of both geography and habitat type and consequently there are no real distinct species assemblages or communities. Based on areas with the highest levels of herpetofauna species richness and endemism, forest reserves need to be established or maintained on Yadua Taba, Taveuni (particularly the northern and eastern sides), Ono-i-Lau, Ovalau, Gau, Rotuma, and the Monasavu area of Viti Levu to maximize conservation of herpetofauna diversity. Because there are gaps in the knowledge of geographic distributions of species resulting from incomplete surveys of several areas of the country, further targeted surveys are needed to completely evaluate the distribution of all herpetofauna species in Fiji.
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Conservation and Biodiversity