The Mamanuca Group of islands is filled with forests that play a vital role to the local communities and the surrounding life that calls this place home. Forests in the Mamanucas are very important because apart from supporting livelihood in the communities, they play the major role of preventing erosion of soil to the very vulnerable coral reefs that surround each island. There are two types of forest ecosystems in Fiji.
- Wet Forests—consisting of forests that thrive in cooler regions such as the eastern and central parts of Viti Levu.
- Dry littoral forests—found mainly in the western and dry parts of the country.
Dry littoral forests are prevalent in the Mamanucas, and can be found mostly on all the islands in the region, such as Malolo, Malolo Lailai, Kadavu Lailai (Bounty Island), Qalito, Monu, Modriki Tavua, Yanuya and many others.
MES now joins the list of few non-governmental organisations with the added interest to conserve plants which are used directly by local communities for food, foraging, fiber, timber, medicine, totems, ceremonial purposes and income. Plants in the region are essential in sustaining life to dependent animals such as the native land birds, the Collared Kingfisher (Todiramphus chloris), white throated pigeon (Columba vitiensis) and the endangered crested iguana (Brachylophus vitiensis).
These species are faced with the possibility of being wiped out from the region because of the introduction of goats to the island. Another threat is that of fires. MES is working closely with its members, local communities and partner organisations such as FLMMA, the Institute of Applied Sciences and National Trust of Fiji in the construction of a management and action plan that addresses these issues.