Current and projected forest conditions and trends for the Republic of Palau
Palau’s forests cover 75% of the land area and include swamp, volcanic, mangrove, limestone, coastal, plantations, urban, and agroforests. Individuals, corporations, and traditional clans own 29% of the land. Climate change and population growth drive threats to forests such as sea level rise, flooding and landslides, drought, fire, deforestation, and invasive species. Managers are increasingly challenged to address threats in effective ways that will ensure investments result in positive outcomes.
Conservation is critical to preserve terrestrial biodiversity
Climate change has been affecting all forests of Palau. Coastal forests are being lost to shoreline erosion. Lowland forests along steep slopes are being lost to massive landslides after extreme rains. Sea level rise is causing seawater intrusion in taro gardens. Heavy rains and winds are toppling large trees. Invasive species are taking root in affected and abandoned agroforestry areas.
Improving access to roads and water for more effective wildfire response
Freshwater quality and quantity is good and plentiful, but Palau faces storage and distribution challenges, especially during periods of drought. The main source of water for over 75% of the population is the Ngerikiil Watershed, which produces 20 million gallons of water daily for the communities in Koror and Airai. Each State in Babeldaob has a source of water and the outer states have ground water and wells. It is critical that sources of water be protected.
Forests provide water, food, timber, medicine, materials for arts and crafts, and recreation for residents and tourists
Forests provide food, timber, medicine, materials for arts and crafts, and recreation for residents and tourists. The coconut is a cultural keystone species with over 40 uses. Sustainable harvest and regrowth of local species has existed for many generations and agroforestry provides both food and timber to communities. Visitors curious about traditional forest resource use support eco-tourism programs in Palau and throughout the Pacific.