Santalum yasi Seem. a vital agroforestry species for rural employment and livelihoods development in Fiji
Santalum yasi Seem. a vital agroforestry species for rural employment and livelihoods development in Fijiwca2014-1802 Saurindra N. Goswami 1,* 1Forestry, CAFF, Fiji National University, Koronivia, Nasinu, Fiji
Fiji located between 176o53’E to 178o12’W and 15o42’to 20oS comprises of three hundred and thirty islands of which only 110 are inhabited. Viti Levu and Vanua Levu are the two major islands that cover more than 87 % of the total land area. Eighty three percent of the total land in Fiji is owned by mataqalian itaukei, a term representing the land owing unit. Forest has always been an integral part of the people in Fiji. In the beginning of the nineteen century, Vanua Levu was famous amongst the navigators, adventurers and treasure hunters as Sandalwood Island. Mass exploitation of Santalum yasi Seem. (Fiji sandalwood or yasi) during that time for its valuable and prized aromatic oil contained in the mature heartwood made the species rare in this country. Due to non existence of a substitute for sandalwood oil, yasi is still in very much demand around the world. Therefore the present study was conducted with an attempt to understand the scope of promoting yasi as a vital agroforestry tree species for rural employment and livelihoods development in Fiji. Random farm visit were conducted during 2012, 2013 in the two major islands, namely Viti Levu and Vanua Levu to observe the scope of yasi. It revealed existence of strong preference among farmers’ in Fiji for agroforestry. Farmers usually allow naturally regenerated tree and fruit species to grow and also transplant them in their farms. One hundred and seventeen species (including four introduced tree species) were recorded in the farms. These species are directly or indirectly utilized by farmers and can be comfortably regarded as agroforestry species. Interestingly six species observed in all the farms are considered as suitable host for yasi. The study recommends promotion of yasi as a vital agroforestry species for rural employment & livelihoods development in Fiji.