REFORESTATION PLANNING BASED ON PLANT HARDINESS ZONES IN VITILEVU ISLAND, FIJI
Significant land use changes in Fiji Islands caused soil degradation, pollution and biodiversity losses. The planting of trees is an option of sustainable land use with long term ecological and economic advantages. Spatial models based on ecological requirements of tree species facilitates decision making, planning and risks management before planting. A land suitability analysis with Geographic Information System (GIS) was carried out to identify areas in Vitilevu island for the planting of eleven native and exotic tree species. Altitudes, rainfall and forest cover maps were used as discrimination factors in boolean operations. The species with higher ecological potential for plantation were Syzygium decussatum (22% of the total area), Tectona grandis (19% of the total area), and Metroxylon vitiense (18% of the total area). The model is robust but can be enhanced by adding thematic layers of other environmental factors.