News from the Atoll September 2021
Tetiaroa Atoll

Ia Ora Na 

Nature Notes
How Coconut palms have transformed Tetiaroa

Coconut trees on the motu

This month we want to talk about an agricultural product that transformed the natural world on Tetiaroa and virtually all the other islands in the tropical South Pacific.

Prior to the plantations, and prior to the arrival of people, the motu of Tetiaroa would have been covered by a variety of native trees including, Pisonia grandis, Calophyllum inophyllum, Thespesia populnea, Guettarda speciosa, Morinda citrifolia, Hernandia Sonora, and dense understory of Scaevola, etc. These trees and native ground cover would have provided excellent nesting sites for the millions of seabirds that called Tetiaroa home.

red footed booby nest

With the arrival of the Polynesians, native trees would have been thinned and coconut palms would have been planted near habitation sites, but they would still have been only a small percentage of the flora. As more people moved to the island, habitation and ceremonial sites expanded, and seabird were displaced and eggs were collected, the bird populations would have dwindled.

But when copra production became the focus, everything changed. Native trees were cleared to plant rows of coconut palms and understory vegetation was removed so that the coconuts could be collected easily. There were no plants left for the birds to use for nesting or cover.

Read more about how we are working to bring Tetiaroa back to its natural splendor.

High Resolution Mapping Lends Insights into Teti’aroa’s History

Cladium borders the kopara pond

Tetiaroa is a crown jewel in Tahiti’s history. We know that it served as a secondary residence for the Tahitian royal family of Pare in the 18th Century. However, relatively little is known beyond this.

Inès Pasquier, a French intern from the ENSG (Ecole nationale des sciences géographiques, Marnes-La-Vallée) under the supervision of Dr. Benoît Stoll (University of french Polynesia), is currently on island working to change this. Inès aims to complete and publish the GPS mapping of all archaeological sites surveyed and recorded by the archaeology team (Molle, Hermann, Lagarde) over the past seasons. The data will be input into the GIS system build by Dr. Benoît Stoll for Tetiaroa Society.

"In order to create a webmap of the various archaeological sites on Tetiaroa, we needed to measure their locations precisely using a GNSS receiver (known as GPS). The acquisition campaign took 11 days, from July 19th to July 30th. I went to Reiono, Rimatuu, Onetahi, Tiaraunu, Hiraanae, and Horoatera motu (islets) to map 45 archaeological sites.
Once a site had been found, I faced several difficulties: Some sites were very small, and we had to be watchful of any stones we found. Other sites were huge, like the marae “Apara” on Reiono which measures about 70 meters long and necessitated the removal of a lot of coconut palms which were hiding parts of the site. Luckily, I was helped by other interns, volunteers, and members of Tetiaroa Society."    -Inès

Read more about the project

Meet Jayna DeVore
New coordinator for the Tetiaroa Atoll Restoration Program

Jayna-DeVore

Recently Tetiaroa Society hired Jayna DeVore as Coordinator for the Tetiaroa Atoll Restoration Program (TARP). Jayna comes to Tetiaroa as an accomplished field ecologist with wide-ranging research experience on invasive species – most recently some excellent work on Cane Toads. Her duties as TARP Coordinator will include being in contact with all project leads in order to facilitate their work. She will also have an active scientific role doing fieldwork to compliment and assist projects, and working with data and GIS specialists to manage incoming data. All of us at Tetiaroa Society give a hearty maeva (welcome) to Jayna and feel fortunate to have her as part of our team.

Blue Climate Initiative News
Summit May 2022

BCI summit location

The Blue Climate Initiative has announced the dates for its first global summit which will be held in French Polynesia May 14-21, 2022. Co-Conveners include H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco, Marc Benioff, Syliva Earle, Laura Turner and other ocean champions to be announced. The summit will consist of 3 days of structured meetings onboard the Paul Gauguin cruise ship in Cooks Bay, 3 days of more informal meetings and working group sessions off of Raiatea, a convening at the Atitia Center, a visit to the sacred Polynesian temple of Taputapuatea, and a grand finale Ocean Aid concert in Papeete, Tahiti that will include international and local artists.

Plans are also moving ahead with our education team working with local schools in French Polynesia to sponsor a contest for the best community climate change solutions. Schools across the country will submit climate change solution projects for their respective communities and the best of those will be given cash prizes.

Learn more at BlueClimateInitiative.org

Students from Cape Henry Collegiate on Tetiaroa

motu walk

cape henry class

Tetiaroa Society recently hosted a field course from Cape Henry Collegiate, a college-prep school located in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The class spent three days on the island learning about its natural and cultural heritage and visiting the sustainable facilities of The Brando resort. There are already plans in the works for a return visit next year.

Find out more...

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bee

Tetiaroa Society receives generous support from The Brando for our core operations, but our ability to carry out innovative programs depends on your help -- any amount is appreciated!

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indigenous plants

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Tetiaroa Society is a US registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization (Tax ID #45-1080688). We host scientific research, develop and implement conservation and education programs, and curate the island's knowledge base. We partner with The Brando to establish Tetiaroa as a model for sustainability, where businesses, non-profits, scientists, educators and the local community work together for common goals. Our program objectives are summarized in our Conservation and Sustainable Use Plan, which is available on our website.

© 2021 Tetiaroa Society

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