LORU RAINFOREST PROTECTED AREA
"For Future Generations"


The Loru Rainforest Protected Area covers 220 hectares of lowland rainforest on the east coast of Vanuatu's largest island of Santo. It is one of the last areas of representative forest on the east of the island and supports a surprisingly rich diversity of species, including a number of important endemic and restricted range animals, trees and plants.

The area was first declared a protected area in 1993 by the landowner, Chief Caleb Ser. He applied a traditional taboo (ban) on coconut crab hunting after he discovered a number of undersized crabs had been killed and abandoned on his land. With extensive commercial logging operations underway in the vicinity, he later decided to extend the taboo to the forest and reef and marked out an area of his family's land to be used solely for conservation purposes. His primary concern was that future generations would be deigned the opportunity to experience Vanuatu's "dark bush" if something wasn't done to protect areas of the remaining forest.

The area was named as the Loru Rainforest Protected Area after the limestone caves that it incorporates. It received an official launch from high chiefs, councillors and government officials at a special ceremony on 26 April 1995. The Loru Protected Area Committee (LoPAC) was then formed from family members to implement a basic management plan.

As Chief of Chiefs for Santo, Chief Caleb used his numerous radio appearances to raise the profile of the project, generating considerable interest from people across the country in establishing similar projects. In response to the many requests for help and advice received by VPAI and LoPAC, he decided to build an environment centre attached to the protected area to cater for the needs of rural conservation initiatives and educate local school children about the environment. Work to build the centre began in 1996 and was finished in 1998, when it was official launched as the Loru Environment Centre/Loru Nakamal Blong Envaeromen.

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The Loru Rainforest
Chief Caleb planting a namele (cycad) as a traditional boundary at the Loru Rainforest Protected Area 1994
Winner of the Pacific Islands Community Forests and Trees Award 1999
Giant canoe tree at Loru
Giant coconut crab at Loru