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close this bookAgroforestry in the Pacific Islands: Systems for Sustainability (UNU, 1993, 297 pages)
close this folder4 Agroforestry in Melanesia: Case-studies from Vanuatu and Fiji
View the documentAgroforestry on Aneityum and Tanna, Vanuatu
View the documentFijian agroforestry at Namosi and Matainasau
View the documentA listing of agroforestry components in the landscapes of Namosi and Matainasau

Agroforestry on Aneityum and Tanna, Vanuatu

Aneityum and Tanna, two of the southernmost islands of Vanuatu, have agroforestry systems that are similar in many ways, but very different in others. Aneityum is the smaller island and is geologically older than Tanna. It is less than 200 sq km in area, with a degraded and deforested mountainous interior rising to 850 metros. The highly eroded and laterized soils of the interior, which support only an impoverished vegetation, have been interpreted to be the result of the activities of the large populations (between 3,000 and 4,000 people) that inhabited the island prior to the severe post-missionization depopulation that resulted in a low of 516 people in 1979. The initial decline resulted from a measles epidemic in 1860, followed by an outbreak of dysentery (Carter 1984, 495), and perhaps by other epidemics two or three decades earlier (Spriggs 1981, 73-77). Tanna is a larger (560 sq km), geologically younger, island with an active volcano. Its highly fertile young volcanic soils support a population of over 15,000 (Bonnemaison 1986).

Although excellent studies have been conducted on traditional agriculture on Aneityum (Spriggs 1981) and Tanna (Bonnemaison 1984, 1985, 1986), on the vegetation and flora (Guillaumin 1931, 1932; Schmid 1973), and on the trees of Vanuatu (Gowers 1976), little information has been published on the nature of trees found in active garden areas and in villages and home gardens. The information given here on these trees is derived from field research by R. Thaman and W. Clarke on Tanna and Aneityum in 1988.

The traditional significance of trees in Vanuatu

A particularly interesting aspect of agroforestry in Vanuatu, compared with many other areas? is the relative unimportance of recently introduced trees in villages and agricultural areas, and the predominance of indigenous and aboriginally introduced species. Bonnemaison (1985, 56-57) has remarked on the failure of colonial planters and missionaries to eliminate kastom (tradition) on Tanna; he further observes that the Melanesian society there has "retained in its heart of hearts a memory of its identity and an ability to reconstruct itself according to its own standards." More specifically, just before the Second World War, most people of Tanna rejected Christianity and returned to the use of "magic and to their old values and beliefs" and invented their own Messianic religion, the John Frum Movement, and the return to "the truth of their traditional culture - "Kastom'" (Bonnemaison 1986).

In his study of Melanesian identity, Bonnemaison (1985, 32) argues that the tree serves as a "metaphor" or "symbol of rootedness and stability," and that, in Tannese cosmogony, men wandered without shelter or protection from the sun, rain, or the cold of night. The growth of vegetation, first in the form of lichen and then real trees, provided the first protection. At the foot and in the shade of banyan trees, men hollowed out the first dancing grounds (yimwayim) and built their houses. They then spread gradually throughout the whole island, following wherever banyans sprang up and scattering their houses (Bonnemaison, 1985, 34).

He goes on to say (Bonnemaison, 1985, 37) that "in this 'geographical society' man is compared to a tree whose roots thrust deep into the sacred earth. The banyans around the most prestigious dancing grounds are symbolic of men and bear the names of ancestors who founded the clans. If the banyan leaves the soil it dies, its land and political rights are extinguished, its magical and life-giving powers fade away."

Bonnemaison (1985, 39) also writes of the importance of trees in defining "social space," which is structured by networks of central places bearing symbolic and ritual significance: dancing grounds in the shade of the great banyan trees; sacred or "tabu" places connected with magic stones; dwelling sites and garden areas. Around this living heart, the peaceful dwelling place of followers of custom, there is usually a rather extensive and encircling belt of forest, punctuated by places of identity and security. If the territory's heart is an uninhabited homeland, its periphery is a forest given up to wandering evil spirits. Only by day and with precaution does one venture into these fringe areas, hunting or gathering reserves where from time to time men may make a few temporary gardens to cultivate food crops. The forest, although a place of uneasiness, is also a protection and, because of this, a controlled space.

Plant use on Tanna remains highly traditional and secretive, with all trees perceived to be useful and to possess spiritual significance or power. The traditional perception of trees in Tanna is well reflected in the response to questions about the cultural utility of almost any species: "some man uses it for medicine," which often implies magic.

As Bonnemaison (1986) remarked in a seminar on "Magic Gardens in Tanna," if the island's traditional gardens are still, today, filled with beauty and abundance, it is because they have gone back to their magical foundations, thanks in part to the John Frum movement. The gardens are beautiful because they are traditional and traditional because they are beautiful.

All forces of garden magic are localized in territorial networks of stones and places, all dedicated to the god of food and the master of all fertility magic, Mwatikitiki (a Polynesian name). Garden magic is practiced by garden magicians, or naotupunas, in sacred gardens, or nemai assim, which are "made" by the magician. Magic is practiced by "awakening power" in sacred stones by rubbing each with special assortments of leaves and tree barks from a precise set of plants that the magician alone knows. In the case of magic for a yam garden, for example, the leaves of Cordyline fruticosa, Mwatikitiki's personal emblem, are used. Each of the tasks a magician carries out in the sacred garden is then repeated simultaneously by all other members of the community in their gardens. In addition to his supernatural function, the garden magician is also a master of agricultural technology who guides traditional gardening. The sacred garden is then abandoned after the magician takes the first fruits, distributes them to members of the residence group in exchange for banana laplap (traditional pudding made from root crops or bananas mixed with coconut cream and cooked in an earthen oven), a pig, a fowl, or a kava root.

Such magic practices exist or existed for all plants traditionally grown in gardens: yams, taros, bananas, kava "native cabbages" (Hibiscus manihot), sugar cane, and so forth. Thus, our informants' insistence that virtually all native or aboriginally introduced plants on

Tanna were "used by someone for 'marasin' [medicine]," probably referred more to their traditional magical and spiritual importance and utility in the context of kastom than to "medicine" in the Western context. Thus, "medicine" encompasses many concepts including drugs, magic, fertilizers, pesticides, repellents, and others. Anywhere on Tanna or Aneityum, the great importance of a wide range of indigenous or aboriginally introduced plants, rarely found in agroforestry systems to the east of Vanuatu, probably reflects the resilience and deep significance of the traditional system as well as the richer indigenous flora of Vanuatu compared with the more oceanic islands to the east.

Agroforestry in household gardens and village groves

As in most areas of the Pacific, home gardens and groves surrounding villages in Vanuatu include many tree and shrub species, and seem to be the main avenue through which exotic species are introduced. The dominant tree species of home gardens and groves surrounding coastal villages on Aneityum include mangos, coconut, breadfruit, and Tahitian chestnut (Inocarpus fagifer), with other significant fruit-bearing species such as banana and plantain cultivars, papaya, citrus trees - including orange (Citrus sinensis), mandarin orange (C. reticulata), lime (C. aurantiifolia), and grapefruit (C. paradisi) - oceanic Iychee (Pometia pinnata), Malay apple (Syzygium malaccense), and several edible fig (Ficus) species.

Also common today are the culturally important banyans (Ficus spp.), Pandanus spp., and Casuarina equisetifolia. Species also seen in villages included Cerbera manghas, sandalwood (Santalum austrocalidonicum), and Securinega flexnuoa. Recently introduced species, most of which had no local names, included sweetsop and soursop (Annona squamosa and A. muricata), avocado, guava, strawberry guava (Psidium cattleianum), tamarind (Tamarindus indica), frangipani (Plumeria rubra), the poinciana (Delonix regia), Cassia fistula, Bauhinia sp., and Leucaena leucocephala. Conspicuous by their absence are exotic trees widely established in other areas of the Pacific, species such as rain tree (Samanea saman), African tulip tree (Spathodea campanulata), kapok (Ceiba pentandra), and Cananga odorata.

Shrubby species included the hedge panaxes (Polyscias guilfoylei, P. fruticosa, and P. balfouriana), the leaves of which are commonly cooked as green vegetables, hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis), the copperleaf or beefsteak plant (Acalypha amentacea), Cordyline fruticosa, Euodia hortensis, and the important food plants, sugar cane and bush hibiscus spinach (Hibiscus manihot), known in Bislama (Vanuatu pidgin) as aelan kapis (island cabbage), of which there are numerous recognized cultivars.

In Middle Bush, Tanna, at an elevation of about 300 metres, home gardens in villages contain fewer trees than are found in villages along the coast because the people of Middle Bush can easily acquire many important plant products from the surrounding forest and their richly varied bush gardens. Trees that are commonly found in these home gardens include coconut palms, bananas and plantains, edible figs (Ficus spp.), citrus trees, Barringtonia edulis, Terminalia catappa, Pometia pinnata, guava, soursop and bullock's heart (Annona muricata and A. squamosa), and more temperate species, such as mulberry (Mows alba) and the common peach (Prunus persica), both of which bear fruit in Middle Bush. Other trees found around villages and in ceremonial dancing grounds, or nakamal, in or surrounding villages include large sacred banyans (Ficus spp.), Casuarina equisetifolia, and red-leaved varieties of Pipturus argenteus. Other less common species found in or surrounding villages include Finschia chloroxantha, with an edible fruit, and Solanum aviculare, plus a number of other unidentified species. Also common in Middle Bush home gardens are shrubby species with colourful foliage such as Cordyline fruticosa, Codiaeum variegatum, Breynia disticha, Coleus blumei, and Pseuderanthemum sp., all of which seem to be used in either traditional (kastom) medicine and magic or for body ornamentation. Conspicuously absent in Middle Bush village areas were mango and breadfruit trees, so common on the coastal strip at lower, warmer elevations.

Also important in the areas close to villages are species commonly planted as living fences or pig pens. These species include Erythrina variegata, Hibiscus tiliaceus, Pterocarpus indicus, Polyscias spp., and Jatropha curcas. Other food or shade plants allowed to grow within pig pens adjacent to villages included coconut palms, Morinda citrifolia, Glochidion ramiflorum, Terminalia catappa, and Ervatamia orientalist.

Garden and fallow-forest agroforestry

The agricultural landscapes and associated agroforestry systems in coastal areas and inland along river flood plains on Aneityum and Tanna - as well as at higher elevations on the volcanic soils of Middle Bush, Tanna - illustrate the great importance and diversity of trees and treelike plants. In coastal areas, agroforestry constitutes a mosaic of smallholder coconut plantations, active food gardens, and areas in various stages of fallow vegetation, all within a matrix of scattered useful trees. Small groves, containing both cultivated and wild species, are also common, as are stands of mature secondary forest and coastal strand forest. In Middle Bush, smallholder coffee plantations are found in some areas, but formal smallholder copra plantings are absent.

In coastal areas, within gardens and areas under short-term fallow, the coconut palm is ubiquitous. In more mature fallow areas, the coconut is also the most common tree, although a wide range of other trees is present. Other useful trees are sometimes scattered amongst coconut palms in copra plantations. Whereas in copra plantations, coconut palms tend to be evenly spaced and of a uniform age because of the active promotion of commercial plantation culture in the colonial past, the palms in food gardens and fallow areas tend to be randomly scattered and of different ages. Spriggs (1981, 83) notes that in pre-colonial times, coconuts would have been few in number compared with today's coconut overlay, although none the less of great subsistence importance.

Among the most common cultivated or protected tree species in plantations, gardens, and fallow areas are fruit-trees such as breadfruit, mango, papaya, citrus species, Tahitian chestnut (Inocarpus fagifer), Pacific Iychee (Pometia pinnata), beach almond (Terminalia catappa), and Malay or mountain apple (Syzygium malaccense). Also important in Vanuatu are other less widespread fruit-trees such as pilinut (Barringtonia edulis), canarium almond (Canarium indicum), Burkella obovata, Corynocarpus similis, dragon plum (Dracontomelon vitiense), and Adenanthera pavonina, together with a wide range of edible fig or banyan species (Ficus spp.).

Among tree crops in the pre-colonial economy, Spriggs (1981b, 84) believes lnocarpus fagifer to have been particularly important in times of failure of other crops. Breadfruit was important in some areas at certain seasons, as it is today. Of particular interest is the range of cultivated and selfsown edible figs, which include Ficus aspera, F. copiosa, and F. wassa, each of which has a number of distinguishable red- or green-leaved cultivars. In addition to their edible fruit, many Ficus spp. also have edible leaves, which are cooked as green vegetables and/or are of medicinal importance, as in the case of F. septica.

A wide variety of bananas and plantains (Musca cultivars) is also present in both lowland and upland gardens. Of lesser importance, but found occasionally in garden areas, are the soursop and bullock's heart (Annona muricata and A. reticulata), avocado (Persea americana), and jambolan (Syzygium cumin)). Cocoa, which is an important cash crop in the northern islands of Vanuatu, is also occasionally found in lowland gardens.

In Middle Bush gardens, coconuts are fewer, and mango and breadfruit absent, replaced by more temperate trees such as the mulberry (Mows alba) and the peach (Prunus persica). Finschia chloroxantha is also grown for its edible fruit.

Non-fruit trees commonly cultivated, often as living fence posts or boundary markers, include Erythrina variegata, Pterocarpus indicus, Hibiscus tiliaceus, Garuga floribunda, and Jatropha curcas. Casuarina equisetifolia is also common. Occasional in some plantations and garden areas are the exotic shade trees Delonix regia and Albizia lebbeck and the indigenous kauri Agathis obtusa. Stands of bamboo - including the presumably aboriginal introduction Schizostachyam glaucifolium, the recent introduction Bambusa vulgaris, and other locally recognized bamboo species or cultivars are also scattered throughout garden lands.

Other tree-like or shrubby food and non-food plants commonly cultivated in lowland or higher-elevation garden areas include sugar cane (Saccharum officinarum), bush hibiscus spinach (Hibiscus manihot), kava (Piper methysticum), panax (Polyscias spp.), tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum), Cordyline fruticosa, Ricinus communis, Pseuderanthemum sp., Codiaeum variegatum, Heliconia indica, and Crinum asiaticum, all of which have considerable cultural utility or subsistence importance. Important components are Hibiscus manihot, which is the main green vegetable and an exceptionally good source of vitamins and minerals, Saccharum officinarum, a major snack food and plant that features prominently in traditional legends, and Piper methysticum, the ubiquitous ceremonial beverage that is accorded such cultural, mystical, and magical significance, especially on Tanna. On Aneityum, the leaves of Heliconia indica, Crinum asiaticum, Scaevola cylindrica, Inocarpus fagifer, Acacia spirobis, and Epiprenum pinnatum are among those used by different gardeners for preparing fertilizer or mulch for swamp taro cultivation. On Tanna, the leaves of Crinum asiaticum are particularly important and used as "fertilizer" for yams, taro, sugar cane, and coconuts.

In both lowland and Middle Bush gardens, dominant and minor nontree crops are almost always intercropped with the tree or shrubby species already listed. Particularly on Tanna, planting of almost all these crops is accompanied with customary ritual and garden magic, with the leaves and bark of many trees and other plants commonly found in the gardens being used either in rituals (Bonnemaison 1986) or as fertilizers, mulch, pesticides, or taste enhancers (applied at the time of planting).

Other common species protected or encouraged in active garden areas or fallow regrowth, often through selective weeding, include widespread pioneer species such as Ficus spp., Hibiscus tiliaceus, Macaranga spp., Glochidion ramiflorum, Alphitonia spp., Morinda citrifolia, Commersonia bartramia, Pipturus argenteus, Trema orientalis, Cyathea spp., Grewia crenata, Ervatamia orientalis, Maesa nemoralis, Melochia odorata, Pittosporum spp., Tarenna sambucina, and Securinega flexuosa. Other common-tooccasional species include Leucaena leucocephala, Cordia myxa, and Melia azedarach.

A number of common coastal strand species, including Barringtonia asiatica, Calophyllum inophyllum, Cerbera manghas, Gyrocarpus americanus, Hernandia nymphaeifolia, Neissosperma oppositifolia, Premna serratifolia, and Scaevola sericea, were also commonly found planted or protected in lowland garden sites, while other more exclusively strand species, including Acacia simplicifolia, Caesalpinia bonduc, Colubrina asiatica, Cordia subcordata, Guettarda speciosa, Leucaena insularum, Ochrosia elliptica, Pemphis acidula, Pisonia grandis, Vitex negundo, and mangrove species (such as Bruguiera eriopetala, Excoecaria agallocha, and Heritiera littoralis), border coastal gardens, sometimes extending into the garden areas, and provide the very important service of protecting gardens from salt spray and coastal erosion. These species were restricted almost exclusively to coastal garden areas, although Cerbera manghas and Scaevola sericea were seen planted or protected in upland gardens above 400 metres.

Species that seem to be common in, or confined to, stands of mature fallow forest include Acalypha insulana, Adenanthera pavonina, Aleurites moluccana, Bischofia javanica, Canthium odoratum, Codiaeum variegatum, Croton insularis, Cryptocarya turbinata, Dysoxylum spp., Elattostachys falcata, Euodia spp., Ficus spp., Garcinia pancheri, Gardenia tannaensis, Garuga floribunda, Geniostoma rupestre, Litsia tannaensis, Manilkara dissecta, Mimusops elengi, Nauclea spp., Ochrosia odollam, Phyllanthus sp., Pisonia umbellifera, Polyathia nitidissima, Polyscias sp., Pterocarpus indicus, Semecarpus vitiensis, Syzygium richii, and Tarenna sambucina. Also common-to-occasional in lowland forests or mature secondary or fal low forest were mature fruit-tree species also found in active garden areas including Mangifera indica, Inocarpus edulis, Pometia pinnata, Terminalia catappa, Barringtonia edulis, Syzygium malaccense, Burkella obovata, Canarium indicum, Dracontomelon vitiense, and a wide range of edible fig or banyan species (Ficus spp.) and the palm, Veitchia sp.

Agroforestry in undisturbed forest

As noted by Bonnemaison (1985, 39), the relatively undisturbed forest areas that remain on Aneityum and Tanna constitute "controlled space" and "identity and security" to the local people and in Tanna are the "heart of their territory" and an "uninhabited homeland," that also serve as hunting and gathering reserves, where temporary gardens are established. As such, forest areas must be seen as integral to the total agroforestry resource.

The species found in forests undoubtedly include many of those inventoried in remnant stands of mature fallow forest described above, plus a wide range of other indigenous species.

Other species, many of which were not seen during the present study but were reported by Guillaumin (1931,1932), Schmid (1973), and Gowers (1976) to be present in lower-elevation and mature secondary forests on Aneityom and/or Tanna, include Aglaia eleagnoides, Alstonia villosa, Astronia aneityensis, Beilschmiedia sp., Bischofia javanica, Breynia sp., Cleidion spp., Cyrtandra sp., Dolicholobium aneityense, Endiandra aneityensi, Leucosyke spp., Maba buxifolia, Maesa efatensis, Melastoma denticulatum, Micromelon minutum, Mimusops parvifolia, Mussaenda frondosa, Myrishca inutilis Palaquium neo-ebudicum, Planchonella aneityense, Psychotria necdado, Randia sezitat, Serianthes spp., Sideroxylon aneityense, Sterculia tannaensis, and Tapeinosperma kajewskii.

In addition to species common in lower elevation forests, species seen or reported in mature secondary forest and forests surrounding garden areas at elevations between 200 and 500 metres in the environs of Middle Bush include Breynia sp., Croton sp., Cryptocarya tannaensis, Dillenia crenata, Elaeocarpus hortensis, Pittosporum campbelli, and Semecarpus tannaensis.

In more highly degraded areas and in higher elevations, common species include Acacia spirobis, Geissois denhamii, Metrosideros villosa, Weinmannia sp., together with shrubby species such as Vaccinium macgillivrayi.

Species found in swampy areas adjacent to garden lands include the sago palm (Metroxylon sp.) and Barringtonia racemosa.

Fijian agroforestry at Namosi and Matainasau

Namosi and Matainasau villages are located in the interior wet zone of Viti Levu, the main island of Fiji, some 56 and 95 km respectively from the capital of Suva. The village lands extend from elevations of about 150 to 1,000 metres, with much of the land in slopes steeper than 50 per cent. Rainfall ranges from 250 to 500 cm per year, although it can be as high as 900 cm. Both villages are situated on major rivers, Namosi on the upper Waidina River and Matainasau on the Wainimala River. Both have access to sizeable areas of alluvial land and extensive areas of more mountainous agricultural and forest land. The humic latosols that predominate in the upland areas are characterized by stony clay, stony sandy clay, and stony silt to 60 cm in depth. Although prone to erosion, these soils have relatively high fertility and are particularly suited for short-term root cropping, yaqona (kava) production, or long-term tree cropping. The alluvial sandy loams and sandy soils of the alluvial flats and colluvial areas have relatively high fertility when drained (Groom and Associates 1981).

In the early 1980s, it was estimated that there were some 45 households in Namosi, with a total population of approximately 250 (Rizer et al. 1982). The population of Matainasau is slightly less, with some 30 households in the mid1980s.

Cultural importance of trees and forests

The Fijian term for land, vanua, "has physical, social and cultural dimensions which are interrelated" (Ravuvu 1983, 70). These include the vegetation and animal life as well as the social and cultural system. It follows that all trees on a community's land are seen to be integral to the whole agricultural system and to human welfare. In this context, the major agroforestry land-use zones would include:

  1. the village site (koro);
  2. the areas surrounding the village (bill ni koro);
  3. the agricultural lands (qele ni teitei), including active gardens (vei were) and fallow areas (raki) on the alluvial flats (buca);
  4. agricultural lands (qele ni teitei), including active gardens (vei were) and associated fallow areas (raki) on rolling colluvial and mountain soils of the uplands (vei delana);
  5. secondary forest areas (veikau) on both alluvial flat and upland areas;
  6. dense primary forest (lekutu or veikau loa);
  7. scattered fenced beef-cattle pastures (loma ni ba or ba ni bulumakau); and
  8. river bank or riparian areas (bati ni wad).

During R. Thaman's in-depth field studies of the agroforestry systems of Namosi and Matainasau, conducted from 1979 to 1988, over 100 trees or tree-like species or cultivars were encountered. Most of these were in existing agricultural areas, rather than in surrounding primary forest stands, although some of the forest species are occasionally found as protected individuals in recently cleared upland garden sites. In keeping with the vanua concept, veikau, or forest, areas are seen by Fijians as integral components of the wider land-use system, and were generally used by the entire community, regardless of the more restrictive clan (mataqali) affiliations required to obtain access to agricultural lands. Forest areas supply materials for construction and firewood and provide a domain for hunting and foraging. Although the pressure for commercial logging in such areas has made communal use of forest lands more restrictive, access to more distant forest areas is still very much open, as long as a member of the community is extracting resources for personal or communal use, rather than for commercial purposes (Ravuvu 1983,74).

Important cultigens

The most common cultigens are bananas and plantains (Musa cultivars), kava, or yaqona (Piper methysticum), hibiscus (Hibiscus manihot), Citrus species, breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis), duruka (Saccharum edule), sugar cane, papaya, coconut, Malay or mountain apple (Syzygium malaccense), Polynesian viapple (Spondias dulcis), soursop (Annona muricata), vutu kana (Barringtonia edulis), guava (Psidium gunjava), cocoa (Theabroma cacao), jakfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus), two palms (Veitchia joannis and Pritchardia pacifica), now found more often growing wild, and waciwaci (Sterculia vitiensis). All are commonly planted or protected in active garden areas, fallow areas, and in tree groves around villages, although, as Ravuvu (1983, 73) reports, they are "usually grown in small patches away from the land used for root crops." The mango and the avocado are found infrequently because they seem to bear few fruit in wet inland areas, but are common, especially the mango, in drier coastal agri cultural areas. Although still present, Veitchia joannis, Pritchardia pacifica, and Sterculia vitiensis were all more common in the past.

In active garden areas, these species are generally found interspersed with the dominant staple food crops in both upland and alluvial lowland and river terrace gardens, as well as remaining there throughout fallow periods, which traditionally ranged from 5 to 15 years, with cropping periods of 2-7 years. Correspondingly longer cropping periods and shorter fallow periods are characteristic on the richer alluvial and colluvial soils nearer the villages. Although burning of debris cleared from new garden patches is practiced widely in Fiji, including Namosi, the practice has been traditionally discouraged at Matainasau because it was believed to have deleterious effects on soil and arboreal regeneration.

In the upland garden areas, taro and cassava are the dominant ground crops. Taro is generally planted after clearing and is intercropped with kava as a co-dominant crop. Cassava is planted next, sometimes up to three or more times in succession. Less common crops or intercrops in these gardens include yams (Dioscorea alata), wild yams (D. nummularia) (which are both cultivated and grow wild in fallow and secondary forest areas), tannia (Xanthosoma sagittifolium), giant taro (Alocasia macrorrhiza), and giant swamp taro (Cyrtosperma chamissonis), which is occasionally found growing wild, although probably originally planted, along small streams and poorlydrained areas bordering the garden areas. One factor responsible for decreasing fallow periods and increasing cropping periods and associated agrodeforestation has been the propensity of Fijians to abandon more labourintensive traditional crops, such as yams and taro, in favour of cassava, which is less often intercropped and which requires little or no fallow between successive plantings (Thaman and Thomas 1982, 1985).

The same crops are also found in alluvial soils, although kava is less commonly planted there; sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) grow particularly well in sandy alluvial soils. Some non-traditional vegetables and fruits, such as Chinese cabbage (Brassica chinensis), tomatoes, long beans (Vigna sequipedalis), corn (Zea mays), and eggplant (Solanum melongena), are increasingly intercropped between staple root crops during the early stages of gardens, particularly on the alluvial flats near villages, where water for shortterm seed crops is readily available. Pineapple (Ananas comosus) is also increasingly common.

Of the tree crops, banana and plantain cultivars are probably of greatest economic and subsistence importance, with a range of plantain (vudi) cultivars (Musa AAB Group) found in most gardens as an important staple. Vudi cultivars scattered throughout garden areas may cover as much as 5 per cent of total food-crop area. As perennials, plantains can continue bearing without replanting for 10 years or more if kept free of diseases and weeds.

The common banana of commerce, the Musa AAA Group, which was formerly an important export crop in both the Matainasau and Namosi areas, is still common in gardens, especially on alluvial and colluvial soils. It remains an important local cash crop in Matainasau village. Although bananas are susceptible to black-leaf-streak fungal and bunchy-top viral diseases, the wide dispersal of banana plants and their intercropping with other species controls damage from these diseases, which proved to be the death knell of banana monocropping for export to New Zealand and Japan in the mid-1960s. Other banana cultivars include the liga ni marama, or lady's finger, banana (Musa AAB Group), the bata, or blue Java plantain (Musa ABB Group), and the vinvialevu or qamure (an uncommon plantain cultivar). Musa fehi, the wild banana, which is occasionally cultivated now, was more widely cultivated in the past; it remains as a relict here and there in old secondary vegetation.

Piper methysticum, a tree-like shrub known widely in the Pacific as kava (yaqana in Fijian), is currently the most important cash crop in both Namosi and Matainasau. It is planted as a monocrop but more commonly intercropped with taro (Colocasia esculenta) and other crops, which are harvested first, leaving the kava to mature over its 4-7year optimum yield cycle. Because kava cultivation has been newly extended into more-distant upland areas with the spread of road transport, the new gardens often have fewer deliberately planted cultivated trees than is the case in the more traditional garden areas closer to the villages. As with bananas, there is considerable intraspecies diversity, with at least six recognized kava cultivars in the Namosi area. Being relatively shade resistant, small plantings of kava are commonly found in tree-dominated gardens near settlements.

Although more a shrub than a tree, vauvau, bele, or hibiscus spinach (Hibiscus manihot) is a perennial that, under good conditions, can grow to over 3 metres in height. Along with taro-leaf spinach and many wild ferns, which are found throughout garden and fallow areas, bele is one of the main green vegetables of Namosi and Matainasau villages. It is reportedly one of the most nutritious green vegetables, being very high in vitamins A and C and in iron, and having 12 per cent protein by dry weight (Standal et al. 1974), which makes it a valuable food in interior villages where animal protein is scarce. It is easily propagated from cuttings, requires little cultivation, is relatively disease-resistant, and people like it as a vegetable and also consider it to have medicinal value. Planted along borders of gardens or as an intercrop throughout gardens, it yields a valuable food for a long time.

The wide range of Citrus species cultivated and protected as volunteers throughout garden and fallow areas and around villages are a major economic resource in Namosi, which is renowned for its mold (known in the local dialect as soco), or oranges. The fruits produced include the sweet orange, or mold Taiti, literally Tahitian orange (C. sinensis), and the mandarin orange, or mold madarini (C. reticulata), which are sold in thousands at the Suva Municipal Market (Thaman 1976177) and provide a major seasonal source of cash as well as a very nutritious snack food. The rough lemon, or moli karokaro (C. hystrix), is also common, especially in fallow areas, and is widely used to marinade raw fish or squeezed on a wide range of foods, as well as constituting one of the main ingredients, along with coconut cream, chillies, onions, and salt, of the sauce known as mitt. The young leaves are also used to make tea (drau ni molt). The sour orange, or mold hula (C. aurantium), the kalamantsi, or mold witiwiti (C. micro-arpa), and the pomelo, shaddock, or mold kana (C. grandis), are also commonly cultivated or protected for use in drinks, for squeezing on food, and, in the case of the sour orange, for eating and occasional selling at the market.

The coconut and the breadfruit, although common in garden areas and around villages, especially on the alluvial flats, are not as dominant as in coastal areas. Nevertheless, the coconut remains a very important supplementary staple. The cream expressed from the flesh of the endosperm of mature nuts is widely used in cooking, the green nuts for drinking, and the mature nuts are commonly fed to poultry and pigs. Similarly, breadfruit constitutes an important seasonal staple. Both trees, but especially the coconut, have many non-food uses, and the coconut, the Pacific's "tree of life," is an excellent arboreal intercrop because of its small crown structure. At least five cultivars of coconut and three of breadfruit are recognized in Namosi. Two other palms with edible seeds and useful fronds, Veitchia joannis and Pritchardia pacifica, are found occasionally, often growing wild, but reportedly were planted more widely in the past.

Unlike commercial sugar cane cultivation, where the entire crop is taken at each harvest, the many traditional, aboriginally-introduced cultivars of cane are kept in tree-like clumps and continually harvested to chew as an energy-rich snack food. Functionally, sugar cane, which is widespread in most gardens, constitutes an important "agroforestry" species. The closely related duraka (Saccharum edule), known locally as "Fiji asparagus," provides an edible inflorescence and is found in a cultivated or almost wild state throughout garden areas, especially in poorly drained alluvial sites. In Namosi, where it is an important seasonal food and source of cash income, some nine cultivars are recognized.

Also of considerable economic and subsistence importance is a range of other traditional and more recently introduced fruit-trees, found planted or protected. Traditional - possibly aboriginally introduced- trees that provide seasonal flushes of fruit for consumption and sale include the kovika, or Malay or mountain apple (Syzygium malaccense), the wi, Polynesian vi-apple or hog plum (Spondias dulcis), and the vutu kana (Barringtonia edulis). Of the recent introductions, papaya (Carica papaya) is particularly common and an excellent non-seasonal vitamin- and mineral-rich fruit; seremaia, or soursop (Annona muricata), is common in gardens and around villages; and the uto ni Idia, or jakfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus), is increasingly common. Guava is an important seasonal fruit; it is generally found growing wild, especially where livestock have been grazed, but is occasionally planted or protected in gardens or village areas. The mango, which is believed to be a post-European introduction to Fiji, and the avocado are only occasionally found and bear little fruit in the cold, wet conditions of Namosi and Matainasau.

Senile experimental plantings of cocoa (Theobroma cacoo) and coffee are found at Namosi, with scattered trees found at Matainasau. No cocoa or coffee is produced, although the ripe cocoa fruit pulp is consumed as a snack food and occasionally sold. Cocoa is, however, an increasingly important commercial crop in some areas, such as the nearby Wainibuka River valley, and does offer some prospect for agroforestry cash cropping.

Of cultural importance are a number of cultivated non-food plants. Voivoi, or pandanus (Pandanus spp.), of which there is a range of cultivars, is used in the production of plaited ware such as ceremonial mats, rough mats, baskets, and hats; the many cultivars of the ti plant (Cordyline fruticosa) are used as ornamentals in villages and to provide the most commonly used leaves in traditional dance costumes.

The bright red cultivars are planted as `'protective" plants in gardens to ward off evil spirits and to ensure good yields, while the larger darkgreen variety, vasili ni Toga, was formerly an important famine food and source of sugar from the root, which was baked in an earthen oven for four days. Other non-food plants include panax (Polyscias spp.), a common ornamental hedge, living fence, boundary marker, and ornamental plant of medicinal value, which is commonly planted in villages and occasionally in gardens; kalabuci (Acalypha wilkesiana), also a common ornamental and hedge plant; bua ni Vavalagi, or frangipani (Plumeria spp.), widely planted in and around villages as an ornamental and for the use of its fragrant flowers in garlands; banidaki, wiriwiri, or physic nut (Jatropha curcas), has medicinal value and is planted as living fencing; vauvau, vauvau ni Vavalagi, or kapok (Ceiba pentandra), is occasionally planted around villages as a source of fibre to fill mattresses and pillows; uci (Euodia hortensis), a shrub of medicinal value with pungent flowers and leaves used in garlands and to scent coconut oil, is commonly planted in villages and occasionally in garden areas; vasa damu (Euphorbia fidjiana), an attractive rust-redcoloured tree-like shrub, is planted as a protective plant to ward off evil spirits and to ensure good yields; and sago palm (Metroxylon vitiense) provides a favoured thatching for roofs. Other shrubby ornamentals commonly planted in and around villages are Dracaena fragrans, Bougainvillea spp., Pseuderanthemum curruthersii, P. bicolor, and Groptophyllum pictum.


Non-cultivated or self-sown food trees such as the oceanic Iychee (Pometia pinnata), Tahitian chestnut (Inocarpus fagifer), Ficus vitiensis, the beach or Indian almond (Terminalia catappa), Adenanthera pavonina, Elaeocarpus chelonimorphus, and sukau (Gnetum gnemon) are also commonly protected in garden areas, around villages, and in forest stands. Other less commonly used wild food sources, which were reportedly more widely used in the past, include vava (Heliconia indica), the flower bracts of which are baked or roasted; losilosi (Ficus barclayana), the leaves and fruit of which are eaten and used medicinally; and waciwaci (Sterculia vitiensis), the edible seeds of which were roasted or fried in the past over open fires.

Of almost tantamount economic, ecological, and cultural importance to the many cultivated and wild food trees and the cultivated non-food trees is the host of other useful non-cultivated species that are commonly found, often as dominants, in agroforestry areas. These trees provide timber, fuel wood, medicines, fibre, perfumes, and dyes; they also give shade, control erosion, improve soil, offer habitats to wildlife, and may have considerable spiritual importance. These and other uses are specified in the final section of this chapter. In terms of medicinal importance, for example, field surveys and Weiner's (1984) study of Fijian medicinal plants indicate that almost 50 per cent (47 of 101) of the plants listed in this chapter's final section have some medicinal use.

Most of the non-cultivated agroforestry species are indigenous and some are endemic. Others such as Bischofia javanica, Hibiscus tiliaceus, Canangaa odorata, and Aleurites moluccana may be aboriginal introductions. Although most are generally found growing naturally, some - such as Hibiscus tiliaceus, Erythrina variegata, Premna obtusifolia, and Dillenia biflora- are commonly planted as living fencing, and others - such as Parinari glaberrima and Cananga odorata, which are particularly valued- are commonly planted around villages. Trees that are sacred totems, or i cavuti, of the various descent groups (mataqali) of Namosi include mako (Cyathocalyx vitiensis), bua (Fagraea berteriana), bitu (Schizastachyam glaucifolium), and niu, the coconut (Cocos nucifera).

Exotic trees of widespread agroforestry importance include yaqona ni Onolulu (Honolulu), Onolulu, or qonaqona (Piper aduncum); bitu ni Vavalagi, or common bamboo (Bambusa vulgaris); and two species referred to as vaivai ni Vavalagi (literally, foreign vaivai), leucaena (Leucaena leucocephala) and the rain tree, or monkey-pod (Samanea saman). Piper aduncum is a weedy large shrub to small tree abundant throughout garden and fallow areas, often being coppiced as a readily available source of fuel wood from active garden areas. Bambusa vulgaris is occasionally cultivated, but is usually found wild and protected in large stands on the alluvial flats and occasionally in upland garden areas to provide a ready source for construction materials of wide utility, including bamboo rafts, or bilibili, which were a main means of transporting agricultural produce before road access to urban markets became available in the past 10 years or so, and to provide a ready source of fuel, especially on rainy days, when other sources of fuel are wet. Leucaena leucocephala is locally important, especially in grazing areas, and is commonly used for fencing and construction of pig pens and as a source of firewood and fodder. Samanea saman is commonly planted or protected around villages or in grazing areas as a shade tree, and is particularly common on the alluvial garden flats near Matainasau, where it is an important source of timber, fuel wood, and wood for carving.

Importance of wild foodstuffs

Also of importance to inland Fijian villages is the great diversity of nonarboreal wild plant and animal foodstuffs, medicines, and other useful products found within the matrix of the agroforestry system in active garden areas, fallow vegetation, and secondary forests, in primary forests bordering active agricultural areas, and in or along streams that border or flow through agroforestry areas and that, if agrodeforestation continues, will be considerably impoverished (Thaman 1982b).

Most notable among the non-arboreal wild foodstuffs is an almost baffling diversity of wild yams, the most important species being Dioscorea nummularia, D. pentaphylla, and D. bulbifera, and ferns, mostly referred to as wata or ota, the most commonly consumed species being Athyrium spp., Diplazium spp., Tectaria latifolia, Stenochlaena palustris, and Marattia smithii. Black nightshade (Solanum nigrum); sou (Solanum repandum); moca, tubua, or spleen amaranth (Amaranthus viridis); wild chill) peppers (Capsicum frutescens); kosopeli, or cape gooseberry (Physalis angulata); inoka, or kudzu root (Pueraria lobata), and a diversity of daliga, or fungi, that are commonly found on dead trees, are all common wild foods from agroforestry areas. It is estimated that these more common species, together with less important species and the previously mentioned tree or tree-like sources of wild food products, number over 60 in the Namosi area alone. When the wide range of edible birds, frogs, snakes, grubs, insects, fishes, eels, freshwater prawns, and other foods that are found within agroforestry zones is included, the significance of wild food resources to mountain villages becomes obvious. Moreover, apart from being nutritionally important - particularly in the cases of some seasonally abundant fruits, nuts, wild yams, and wild greens - these wild products also constitute important low-capitalinput, low-risk cash "crops" for seasonal sale at the Suva Municipal Market (Thaman 1976/77).

Importance of village tree groves

Also of agroforestry significance are the relatively dense groves of mature trees found around the boundaries of villages. These groves, which are present at Namosi and some other villages in Fiji, include a wide range of cultivated trees of high utility and easy accessibility. Important species are sweet oranges, mandarin oranges, rough lemon, breadfruit, jakfruit, coconut, bananas and plantains, Tahitian chestnut (Inocarpus fagifer), oceanic lychee (Pometia pinnate), coral tree (Erythrina variegate), and Cordyline terminalis, along with other trees of medicinal or spiritual importance, such as those used in ceremonial garlands or for scenting coconut oil.

Pressures toward agrodeforestation

Over 100 trees or tree-like species are found in the agroforestry systems of Namosi and Matainasau villages; collectively they represent a resource of enormous economic, cultural, and ecological importance. These trees, along with the many other species found in surrounding forest stands, have been preserved as part of an integral agroforestry system for generations but are almost totally neglected by most present-day agricultural developers and researchers. Consequently, although the agroforestry systems of both villages remain relatively intact, recent pressures to encourage cash cropping of bananas, cocoa, Lava, and root crops, and to develop commercial livestock grazing, have led to deforestation and agrodeforestation. The new generation of farmers, which has not been educated to see the long-term utility of integrated agroforestry, neglects the trees. As an example of the richness and diversity of this agroforestry resource, table 5 in the final section of this chapter lists the important agroforest trees and some tree-like plants recorded in the landscapes of Namosi and Matainasau villages and provides a brief description of their uses and significance. Lack of space prohibits the presentation in this book of the similar sort of information available for all the Pacific Island regions discussed here, but an aggregate listing of 100 important agroforest species is offered in the Appendix.

A listing of agroforestry components in the landscapes of Namosi and Matainasau

The following table contains a list of important tree and tree-like species of agroforestry systems of the Namosi and Matainasau village landscapes in Fiji.

It should be noted that under "vernacular names," B refers to the common Bauan dialect, used as the Fijian lingua franca; N refers to the Namosi dialect, and M to the Matainasau dialect. The common

English or other widely used vernacular names are given with no further designation. In Fijian orthography, the "c" is pronounced like the "th" in the word "the," the "d" like the "nd" in "candy," "g" as the "ng" in the word "sing," and "q" like "ngg."

Table 5 Tree and tree-like species in the agroforestry systems of the villages of Namosi and Matainasau, Fiji

Latin name Vernacular names Notes
Acalypha wilkesiana kalabuci, kalabuci damu (N,M,B); Joseph's coat, beefsteak plant, copperleaf Common in villages, and occasional in garden areas; important planted ornamental and hedge plant; used medicinally.
Adenanthera pavonina vini (N); vaivai (M); lera (B); red-bead tree eaten. Occasional in garden areas and around villages in tree groves; timber used in house building and for firewood; seeds
Aleurites moluccana lauci (N,M,B); waiwai (N); candlenut Occasional in garden and fallow areas, in secondary forests, and around villages; seeds used to produce oil beneficial to the skin; used medicinally.
Alphitonia zizyphoides doi (N,M,B) secondary forests; timber useful; good Occasional in garden areas and in firewood; used medicinally.
Alstonia vitiensis sorua (N,M); bulei (B) Occasional in garden areas and in secondary forests; good fuel wood; sap dried for chewing gum.
Annona muricata seremaia (N,M,B); soursop Common around villages, and occasional in garden areas; ripe fruit eaten and made into drinks.
Antidesma classophylum molau (N,M,B); molau vuloa (N) Occasional in fallow areas; leaves used medicinally; good fuel wood when thoroughly dried.
Artocarpus altilis uto sori (N); uto (N,M,B); breadfruit Common around villages, in garden areas, in secondary forests, and in village tree groves; fruit cooked as an important seasonal staple; leaves used for wrapping food for cooking in the earthen oven or boiling; occasionally sold; used medicinally; various cultivars recognized.
Artocarpus heterophyllus uto ni Idia (N,M,B); jakfruit Occasional around villages in garden lands; fruit eaten and occasionally sold.
Astronidium confertiflorum sakelo (N); dava (M) Occasional in secondary forest in garden areas; used as fuel wood.
Bambusa vulgaris bitu ni Vavalagi (N,M,B); common bamboo Common in garden areas, fallow and secondary forest areas, and around villages; large stems used for housing and other construction purposes, for construction of bamboo rafts (bilibili), for ladders, and smaller sections for steaming food in the earthen oven or over open fires.
Barringtonia edulis vatu kana, vatu (N,M,B) Occasional in garden areas on alluvial flats, in tree groves, and near or in villages; seeds eaten raw as a snack food; occasionally sold.
Bischofia javanica koka (N,M,B) Abundant in garden and fallow areas, and common on alluvial flats; protected in the past when clearing garden lands, but increasingly felled by younger generations; favoured tree for house posts, good firewood, used medicinally, leaves boiled with pandanus leaves to dye them black; bark formerly used

with other ingredients to dye hair red; its presence believed to be a sign of good soil.

Bougainvillea spp. bougainvillea Common ornamental in villages.
Buchanania atrenuata kaukaro (N) Infrequent in secondary forest areas; used medicinally.
Cananga odorata makosoi (N,M,B); perfume flower, ylangylang Occasional in garden areas and around villages; leaves used medicinally; fragrant flowers used in garlands and for scenting coconut oil.
Carica papaya uto, uto maoli (N); weleti (M,B) Common in garden and fallow areas and around villages, both planted and as a volunteer; ripe fruit eaten raw; green fruit occasionally cooked or mixed with meat as a tenderizer; used medicinally.
Ceiba pentandra vauvau, vauvau ni Vavalagi Occasionally planted in garden areas and around villages; occasionally planted as living fences; fibres surrounding seeds used to stuff pillows and mattresses.
Citrus aurantium mold kula (M,B); kula (N); sour orange Occasional in garden and fallow areas and around villages; fruit used to make drinks, to squeeze on food, and occasionally sold.
Citrus grandis mold kana (N,M,B); soco vi kana (N); pomelo, shaddock Occasional in garden and fallow areas, in secondary forests, and around villages; excellent firewood; ripe fruit eaten and occasionally sold; used medicinally.
Citrus hystrix mold karokaro (N,M,B); soco ni Vavalagi (N) Common in garden and fallow areas, and occasional in secondary forests and village tree groves; juice of fruit used to marinate raw fish and to flavour foods, young leaves used to make tea; used medicinally; occasionally sold; good fuel wood.
Citrus microcarpa mold witiwiti (N); kalamantsi (Philippines) Occasional in garden areas, tree groves, and around villages; ripe fruit used to make drinks and to squeeze on food.
Citrus reticulata soco madirini (N); mold madirini (M,B); mandarin orange, tangerine Common in garden areas, fallow vegetation, around most villages, and in community tree groves, and occasional in secondary forests; ripe fruit eaten and made into drinks; sold as a major seasonal source of cash income.
Citrus sinensis soco ni Taiti (N); mold lecau (M); mold Taiti (B); orange, sweet orange Common in garden areas, fallow vegetation around villages, and in community tree groves, and occasional in secondary forests; ripe fruit eaten and made into drinks; sold as a major Seasonal source of cash income; used medicinally.
Cocos nucifera niu (N,M,B); coconut palm Occasional in garden areas, and more common on alluvial flats and surrounding villages; a minor food plant in the interior, unlike in coastal areas, where it is a major source of vegetable fat and energy in cooking and a poultry and pig feed, and is used in a great variety of ways; still an important intercrop, but more important in the past; the totem of the Natuvora descent group (mataqali) of Namosi village; used medicinally.
Commersonia bartramia sama (M) Common in garden and fallow areas, in secondary forests, and along road frontages; good fuel wood; inner bark used for string and lashings; used medicinally.
Cordyline fruticosa vasili (N,M,B); ti plant Abundant in villages, common in garden areas, and occasional as an escape in fallow areas; a wide variety of cultivars exists; bright red varieties commonly planted as 'protector" plants to ward off evil spirits and to bring good luck to gardens and as ornamentals in villages; large roots of green varieties (vasili ni

Toga) cooked in earthen oven in the past as a food, now only as a famine food; leaves of many varieties used in ceremonial skirts and other ornamental attire; used medicinally.

Cyathea spp. balabala (N,M,B); tree fern Common in fallow areas and secondary forest, and occasional in garden areas; trunk used in house construction and occasionally sold to and used by ornamental gardeners as orchid

supports; when dry, used to carry fire long distances before matches were available.

Cyathocalyx vitiensis mako (N,M,B) Occasional in garden and fallow areas, and in secondary and primary forest; important totem (i cavuta) of the high ranking Nabukebuke yavusa and mataqali descent groups of Namosi village; used for firewood; inner bark Occasionally used for string or lashing.
Cyrtandra jugalis micra (N,M) Occasional in garden and fallow areas and in secondary forests; timber used for house frames.
Dendrocnide harveyl salato (N,M,B) Infrequent in fallow areas and in secondary forests; used medicinally.
Dillenia biflora kulava (N,M,B) Occasional in garden lands and around villages, common in secondary forests; planted as living fencing, pig pens, and bathhouse walls.
Dracaenafragrans dracaena Common ornamental in villages.
Dysoxylum richii vesida (N); sasawira (M); sasauira (B) Common in secondary forests, and occasional in garden areas; timber used in construction and for firewood.
Elaeocarpus chelonimorphus kabi (N) Occasional in garden and fallow areas and in surrounding secondary forest; seeds eaten as a snack food and favoured food of fruit-bats.


isusu (N) Occasional in fallow and secondary forest areas; timber used in construction and for firewood.
Endospermum macrophyllum lekutu (N); lekuti (M); kauvula (B) Occasional in secondary forests, protected in garden lands, and common in surrounding forests; wood used in house construction, for dug-out canoes, and for fire wood; an important timber species for local milling and export.
Erythrina variegata drala (N,M,B); coral tree, dadap Common in garden areas and around villages; commonly planted as property markers, living fences, or pig pens; flowering indicates the onset of the yam planting season; used medicinally.
Euedia hortensis uci (N,M,B) Occasionally planted in garden areas and common in and around villages; flowers and leaves used to scent coconut oil, to make garlands (salusalu), and commonly worn behind the ear; leaves used medicinally.
Euodia vitiensis tokatolu (N) Infrequent in secondary forests; leaves used medicinally and taken by women after giving birth.
Euphorbia fidjiana vasa damu (N,M,B) Shrub occasionally planted as a "protec tion" or spiritual plant to protect gardens from evil spirits and to ensure good yields; used medicinally.
Fagraea berteriana bua, bua ni Viti (N,M,B); bua tokaikau (N) Occasional in garden and fallow areas, in secondary forests, and around villages; fragrant flowers used in garlands and for scenting coconut oil; the totem (i cavati) of the Nasilime mataqali, or descent group, of Namosi village; used medicinally.
Ficus barclayana losilosi (N,M,B) Occasional in garden and fallow areas, in secondary forest, and around and in villages; leaves and fruit eaten; leaves use medicinally.
Ficus fulvo-pilosa al mast (N) Occasional in garden and fallow areas and in secondary forest; leaves used as sandpaper in the past.
Ficus obliqua bake, baka ni Viti (N,M,B); strangler fig; banyan Occasional in garden areas and common in secondary forest; fruit eaten by birds and fruit-bats; used medicinally.
Ficus vitiensis lolo (N,M) Occasional in garden and fallow areas and in secondary forests; sweet fruits eaten as a snack food; used medicinally.


sisisi (N) Infrequent in secondary forests and in fallow areas; wood good for making digging sticks.
Glochidion spp. molau (N,M,B) Common in fallow vegetation, and occasional in garden areas and secondary forests; leaves used medicinally; one of most widely used medicinal plants.
Gnetum gnemon sukau, bele sukau (N,M,B) Occasional in secondary forest and in forest areas surrounding garden areas; seeds edible, young leaves cooked as a spinach.
Graptophyllum pictum caricature plant Occasional ornamental in villages.
Heliconia indica vava (N,M,B) Occasional in garden areas, fallow areas, and secondary forests; flower bracts cooked as a famine food; leaves used to parcel food.
Hibiscus manihot vauvau (N,M); bele (B) Abundant in gardens and around villages; major leafy green vegetable, very rich in vitamins A and C, iron, and plant protein; commonly sold in markets; used medicinally.
Hibiscus tiliaceus vau (N,M,B); beach hibiscus tree Common in fallow and garden areas, and around villages; commonly planted as living fences and pig pens; wood used in walling for houses, inner bark as fibre for skirts, for straining yaqana, and for house and canoe lashings; leaves used medicinally.
Homolanthus nutans tadau (N); tadanu (B) Occasional in fallow areas and secondary vegetation; used for firewood.
Inocarpus fagifer ivi (N,M,B); Tahitian chestnut Common in poorly drained areas, along rivers, and in tree groves, and occasional in alluvial and some upland garden areas and around villages; seed cooked as a supplementary staple; leaves used to cover food in earthen oven; good fuelwood; used medicinally; sold occasionally.
Jatropha curcas banidaki (N,M); wiriwiri (B) Occasional in garden areas and around villages; planted as a living fence; used medicinally.
Leucaena leucocephala vaivai, vaivai ni Vavalagi (N,M,B); leucaena Common locally as a long-introduced inventive in garden areas, around villages, and in some areas where cattleare grazed; good source of firewood, posts for fencing and wood for general construction purposes, such as animal

pens; foliage and young pods used as fodder and occasionally eaten.

Macaranga graeffeana mavu (N,M); davo (B) Common in garden and fallow areas, and as a pioneer species in secondary forests; wood used for construction and for firewood; used medicinally.
Macaranga harveyana gadoa (N,M) Common in fallow areas and secondary forest, and occasional in garden areas; wood used in construction and for firewood; used medicinally.
Mangifera indica maqo (N,M,B); mango Occasional in garden areas and surrounding and in villages; ripe fruit eaten; fruit rarely sets at wet higher elevations.
Melochia mollipila samaloa (N) Occasional in fallow areas and secondary forests; good firewood; used medicinally.


soya (N,M,B); sage palm Occasionally planted along rivers or around villages and gardens; fronds used for thatching houses; maristem sometimes sold to Indians for use in curries; leaf ribs used for brooms.
Morinda citrifolia kura (N,M,B) Occasional in garden and fallow areas, in secondary forest, and around villages; used medicinally; pungent fruit eaten in the past.
Musa AAA Group jaina(N,M,B); banana, Cavendish banana Common intercrop in garden areas especially on alluvial flats; important cash crop for local sale and eaten green as a supplementary staple and ripe as a fruit; leaves used to wrap food for cooking and for general food parcelization.
Musa AAB Group liga ni marama (N,M,B); lady's-finger banana Occasional in garden areas and around villages; ripe fruit eaten, very minor cash crop for local sale; leaves used to wrap food.
Musa AAB triploid vadi (N,M,B); plantain Abundant in garden areas, in both alluvial flats and on hill slopes; common intercrop in almost all gardens; green fruit an important staple, ripe fruit occasionally cooked as a dessert (vakasoso); leaves used to wrap food for cooking in the earthen oven and for general food parcelization; important supplemental cash crop for local sale.
Musa ABB Group bata (N,M,B) ; blue plantain Occasional in garden areas; green fruit cooked as a Java supplementary staple and eaten ripe occasionally; leaves favoured for parcelization of foods for earth oven.


Hobo (N,M); bovu (B) Common in fallow areas and in secondary forest; bark and leaves used medicinally.
Musa cultivar viavia levu (M); qamure (B); plantain Uncommon banana or plantain cultivar in garden areas; green fruit cooked as a staple.
Musa fehi sowaqa (N,M,B); fe'i banana, mountain banana Occasional in secondary forest as a reict

of former cultivation, occasional in garden areas; fruit cooked as a staple and occasionally sold at the SuvaMarket.



bo (N,M) Occasional in garden areas and secondary forests; wood used in construction.


bo nokonoko (N); boloa (N,M) Occasional in garden and fallow areas and in secondary forests; timber used in house construction.
Pandanus spp vadra, voivoi (N,M,B); pandanus, screw pine Commonly planted in garden areas and in and around villages, often along fence lines or garden boundaries; leaves treated and dyed for use in a wide range of plaited ware including ceremonial and rough mats, baskets, hats, and lashings; used as a fuel; prop roots usedmedicinally; fruit and fibre used in garlands.


makita (N,M,B) Occasional in garden and fallow areas, in secondary forest, and around villages; timber used for construction and small straight rods used for spears; seed used for dyeing hair and scenting coconut oil; leaves used for thatching houses.
Parinari insularum sa (N,M,B) Occasional in garden and fallow areas and

in open forest stands; excellent firewood.

Persea americana pea (N,M,B); avocado Occasionally planted in garden areas and around villages; ripe fruit eaten, commonly as a butter substitute; does not bear fruit as well at wet higher elevations.
Piper aduncum onolulu (N), qaneqona (M), yaqona ni Onolulu (B) Common in fallow areas and protected in garden areas; coppiced as a very accessible and renewable firewood source; used as a shade tree in active garden areas.
Piper methysticum yaqona (N,M,B); kava Very abundant; most important cash crop in both Namosi and Matainasau; important alkaloid-rich social beverage made from the roots and lower stems; commonly intercropped with taro on rich slope soils; used medicinally.
Plumeria spp. bua ni Vavalagi (N,M,B); frangipani, plumeria, coconut oil Common in villages, and occasional in nearby gardens; fragrant flowers used in garlands and to scent.
Polyscias spp. danidani (N,M,B) Common in villages, and occasional in garden areas; planted as live fencing, hedges, pig pens, and ornamentally in villages; leaves used in preparation of attire for traditional dances; used medicinally.
Pometia pinnata dawa (N,M,B); Pacific Iychee Common in garden areas, fallow areas, and secondary forest; usually Protected when clearing garden lands; ripefru. eaten; leaves and bark used medicinally; good firewood and good timber.
Premna serratifolia yaro (N,M,B) Common in garden and fallow areas, in Secondary forest, and around villages;commonly planted as living fencing; leaves and bark used medicinally.
Pritchardia pacifica sakiki (N,M); masei (B); Fiji fan palm In&equently planted around villages and garden lands; seeds eaten; leaves once used for fans.


false eranthemum Occasional ornamental in villages.
Psidium guajava quwawa (N,M,B); guava Common in cattle paddocks, and occasional in garden areas and around villages; leaves used as a treatment for diarrhoea, fruit a favoured, vitamin-C rich snack food; good firewood.
Saccharum eduk duraka (N,M,B); Fiji asparagus Common crop in garden and fallow areas,

especially in moist alluvial soils; plantedand protected in a somewhat naturalized state; internal inflorescence an important seasonal food and cash crop.

Saccharum officinarum dovu (N,M,B); sugar cane Common intercrop in garden areas and around villages; stems an importantsnack food; used medicinally, leaves of some varieties occasionally used for thatching.
Samanea saman vaivai, vavai ni Vavalagi (N,M,B); vu ni kau ni Vavalagi (M); rain tree, monkey-pod Commonly planted or protected in garden and grazing areas on the alluvial flats and near villages; excellent shade trees, wood favoured for wood carving and firewood.
Santalum yasi yasi (M) Uncommon in secondary forests; harvested commercially in some areas of Fiji.
Schizostachyam glaucifolium bitu, dina (N,M,B); bamboo Common in garden areas and in open secondary forest in hilly areas; largestems used for general construction purposes, in the construction of light rafts (bilibili), for piping, and for cooking food, especially freshwater prawns in the earthen oven or over an open fire; the totem (i cavati) of the Soloira mataqali, or descent group, of Namosi village; used medicinally.
Spathodea campanulata tulip (M); African tulip tree Occasional ornamental and living fence around villages, occasional as a naturalized escape in garden areas.
Spondias dulcis wi (N,M,B); Polynesian vi- apple, hog plum Commonly planted or protected in garden areas, around villages, and in village tree groves; ripe and green fruit eaten and occasionally sold at markets; leaves boiled with fatty food, particularly pork.
Sterculia vitiensis waciwaci (N) Infrequent in garden areas and in secondary forests, and occasionally planted around villages; seeds eaten roasted or fried in the past.
Syzygium malaccense kavika (N,M,B); Malay apple, mountain apple Commonly planted or protected in garden areas, around villages, and in village tree groves; leaves and bark used medicinally; fruit eaten green and ripe, leaves cooked in the past.
Syzygium seemannianum yasi ni wai (N) Common along streams and river banks; leaves used medicinally.
Terminalia catappa tavola (N,M,B); beach Indian almond Occasional in garden areas and around villages; ripe seeds eaten; young leaves and bark used medicinally; the totem (i cavuti) of the Navatusila mataqali, or descent group, in Namosi village.
Theabroma cacao koko (N,M,B); cocoa, cacao Occasionally planted in old garden areas; fruit eaten and occasionally harvested to make cocoa; increasingly important cash crop in some nearby areas in the wet zone.
Timonius affinis tirivanua (N) Occasional in fallow areas; used medicinally by women.
Trema orientalis drou (N,M,B) Common pioneer species in fallow areas, secondary vegetation, and disturbed ruderal sites, particularly along road cuts.
Veitchia joannis saqiwa (N,M); niusawa (B) Infrequent in secondary forests and around villages; planted more in the past; immature seeds eaten as a snack food; the totem (i cavuti) of the Naqelekautia mataqali of Namosi


Sources: Field surveys by R.R. Thaman from 1979 to 1988; Weiner 1982 for some medicinal usages.