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.
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.
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.
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.