On Tuesday morning we began working at our second site, Natua. We started the day by collecting our guide Benny, who happens to be the village major, and continued on to the site where we carried out the survey last week. We tagged plants and measured them simultaneously throughout the day. In the evening we returned to our hotel to finish pressing the remaining samples from Seaqaqa.
On Wednesday we continued measuring all of our tagged samples. Benny was kind enough to bring some fresh coconuts along and for lunch we drank coconut juice (known as bu in Fijian) and ate fish samosas which we picked up on our way to the site. Wuu Kuang has confirmed they are Fiji’s most famous samosas! 🙂
Fresh coconut juice for lunch
On Thursday, Benny showed Michelle and I how the local people use the forest for many aspects of their lives. For example they use a local bracken fern as sun glasses and the soft fibres of a tree fern are used to stuff pillows and mattresses. They also boil the young leaves and fruits of a particular gnetum species to eat.
Benny and his fern visor
Measurements continued to go well and when we finished for the day we drove to a local kava plantation where we saw the famous kava plant growing. The crop grows for between three to ten years before harvesting and the roots are then dried in the sun to prepare them for the market.