This species qualifies as Vulnerable
because it has a very small population which appears to be declining on at
least one island, probably owing to hunting, predation and the increasing
cultivation of sakau, the juice of which is consumed for its psychoactive
On Pohnpei, predation by introduced
species (mainly rats Rattus spp. and cats) and excessive hunting
may have caused some depletion3. The progressive loss or
alteration of habitat is a further possible contributory factor, given a
reduction of 37% in undisturbed upland forest from 1975 to 1995, largely
attributable to the cultivation of sakau (=kava) Piper methysticum3,6.
Long-standing tradition and custom have surrounded its use, but now there
is a more widespread recreational demand with increasing clear-cutting of
1-2 ha plots, reaching to the edge of cloud-forest at c.600 m in some
areas3. On Chuuk, the only remaining semi-original
forest remains in tiny remnants on the higher reaches of a few islands.
Traditional leaders have been
encouraged to adopt a programme to plant sakau in the lowlands, but
resistance is high because the plant grows best on wet mountain slopes and
is less likely to be pilfered in more remote areas3.
*Monitor population trends through
detailed censuses7. *Preserve native and mixed forest
remnants5,7, including atoll islets where human
disturbance can be minimised and the introduction of predators prevented5.
*Assess the extent of hunting in both Pohnpei and Chuuk7.
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