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Building Capacity in the Protected Areas Network (PAN)
Src: Palau International Coral Reeef Center (PICRC) 2017 Gratitude Report | July 14, 2017

The following article is from the 2017 Gratitude Report by the Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC). Download the complete 2017 Gratitude Report

From the 7th to the 17th of February, the Palau International Coral Reef Center hosted a PAN Ecological Training Course for Koror State conservation officers and rangers. This was the largest PAN training course held by PICRC and was made possible because of the collaboration among Palau Community College (PCC), Protected Areas Network Office (PAN O) and Palau Coral Reef and Island Ecosystem (P-CoRIE) project.

PICRC researchers taught the course and covered techniques on surveying methods for the conservation officers and rangers to apply when monitoring Koror State PAN Sites. The participating rangers and officers earned certificates of completion after finishing 53 hours of training. During the course they gained the necessary skills to monitor MPA's, develop sampling designs, measure the effectiveness of MPA's, through ecological and socioeconomic surveys, and the skills to assess tourism impacts.

The Palau Protected Areas Network (PAN) was created through national law in 2003 to defend the country's biodiversity. Ensuring effective monitoring of these sites is essential for informed management of the sites. Aside from providing a reliable source of food and sustaining continuous economic growth, coral reefs act as a buffer to the shorelines protecting against storms and erosion. Monitoring and surveying MPA's will allow us to see how effective they are in reducing the impact of overfishing and enhancing resilience and productivity.


MCT Makes the First Funds Transfer from Palau’s MC Endowment Fund to the Palau PAN Fund

On January 31, 2017, the Micronesia Conservation Trust (MCT) Board approved a resolution instructing its Investment Advisor, Raymond James, to disburse $435,362 to the Palau Protected Areas Network (PAN) Fund (www.palaupanfund.org). The Palau PAN Fund, per the agreement with MCT, will use the fund exclusively for (a) implementation of PAN protected areas management, sustainable development and work plans for PAN sites based on performance, impact/outcome and appropriate management costs for the continuing sustainable operation of the PAN Fund; (b) the undertaking of necessary research and educational activities substantially related to carrying out the purposes of RPPL No. 7-42; and (c) the performance of any of the functions that are necessary in order to carry out the purpose of RPPL 7-42 including the operation of the PAN Office. The amount withdrawn is based on a formula agreed to between the donors and the owners of the endowment in an Investment Policy Guidelines on the Micronesia Challenge Endowment Fund (www.micronesiachallenge.org) and is designed to ensure the value of the Fund is maintained in perpetuity.

In 2006, MCT was selected by the Chief Executives of Micronesia to serve as the Micronesia Challenge Endowment Fund financing mechanism and has been managing the MC Endowment Fund since its inception in 2008. The fund was initiated with a $1,000,000 grant from The Nature Conservancy and a $500,000 contribution from the Palau Government. Subsequently the Palau Government, through their Palau PAN Fund, and the Federated States of Micronesia and Marshall Islands governments started contributing their own national funds to the endowment to match other donor funds from The Nature Conservancy ($3M), Conservation International ($3M) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) – United Nations Environment Programme ($5M). Today the endowment fund stands at nearly $18.5M, with Palau owning approximately half of the fund, and with FSM and RMI owning approximately $5,000,000 and $4,000,000 respectively. A student group from Saipan, the Tanapag Middle School Micronesia Challenge Club, provided $1,000 from their own funds to launch the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands’ (CNMI) Micronesia Challenge Endowment Fund in 2016. MCT continues to work with Guam and CNMI officials, as well as other international development partners, to launch their MC endowment funds as part of this joint regional initiative.

For the FSM and RMI to start to receive earnings from the MC Endowment Fund, they will need to put in place national policies and legislations that formally establish their protected areas networks, as well as the mechanisms for disbursement (i.e. the Palau PAN Fund). Both the FSM and RMI Governments are now working to put these program requirements in place so they can begin to drawdown on the funds to support the much-needed community based site work within their respective jurisdictions.


Kayangel and Ngarchelong Rangers Retreat
Src: Island Times | Friday, December 16, 2016

With the Northern Reef of Palau continuing to push for sustainable management of their fisheries, enforcement becomes a key focal area. The rangers of both Kayangel and Ngerchelong were engage in a 3-day retreat hosted by The Nature Conservancy.

The retreat was meant to enhance relationships between the rangers and partner agencies, gain a better understanding of the partner agencies role, respective States Marine Resources Management Regulations, the overall progress of the Northern Reef Fisheries Management Project and to build teamwork and improve communications.

PAN Conservation Officers TrainingPresentations by the partner agencies such as Palau International Coral Reef Center(PICRC), Division of Fish and Wildlife, Protected Area Network(PAN), and Palau Conservation Society(PCS) gave the rangers a better understanding of their knowledge.

Both Directors of Kayangel and Ngarchelong rangers agreed that retreat should be recurrent activity and that it is an excellent opportunity for their rangers to learn new things and sharpen their skills.


Northern Reef Committee Proposes Stricter Measures
Src: Island Times | Friday, February 26, 2016

The Northern Reef planning committee finalizes proposal that calls for stricter measures in the Northern Reef Area.

It has been six months since the governors of Ngarchelong and Kayangel  signed their Northern Reef Fisheries Management Act of 2015 into laws. The act put a 3 year ban on tiau, mokas, temekai, meteungerel temekai, and mandated the governors to establish rules and regulations that will:

The committee is composed of representatives from both Kayangel and Ngarchelong.
“The important thing is that we don’t restrain the local citizens’ ability to make a living to support his or her family, it is necessary that we work together to find other alternative livelihood that the local man or woman can fall on in order to meet their daily obligations”, says one of the States’ Legislators.

The proposed rules and regulations were developed with those words in mind.

The committee reiterates that what they are doing is for the greater good of both states and believes that the proposed rules and regulations are important because they provide a way to secure and protect the northern Reef states marine resources for the betterment of their citizens today and the future generations to come.

After months of discussions, and conducting a number of community meetings in the states of Ngarchelong and Kayangel, the committee presented their recommendation that incorporates comments to the respective leaders of Ngarchelong and Kayangel.


Over 50,000 Clam Seedlings Planted in First Year GCSSPF
Src: Island Times | Friday, February 26, 2016

On Thursday, January 28, 2016, the Palau Bureau of Marine Resources replanted the initial 300 number of at least six hundred promised by BMR in response to a response made by the Governor of Peleliu to restock Peleliu’s Teluleu Conservation Area.

According to the executed MOU between the BMR and the Governor, ‘the Peleliu State Government and the Peleliu State Protected Areas Network  and Conservation Office, hereafter called PPANCO, will ensure its safekeeping and protection from any threats that may interrupt or disturb the growth  of the said clams’. “Any threats definitely includes poaching activity”, BMR Acting Director Leon E. Remengesau was careful to remind.

“We are already implementing the Giant Clam seed Sustainability Project Fund. In the first year of the GCSSP Fund, BMR has planted close to fifty thousand seedlings on the several new clam farms created with the money BMR is collecting for the fund. We also have planted over one thousand young adult cultured clams in three state conservation areas”, Mr. Remengesau revealed.
Currently, House Bill No. 9-202-12, HD1 which seeks to mandate MRNET to replenish clam population in PAN and increase reporting of clam sustainability project, has passed 1st reading in the Senate.

According to Bureau of Marine Resources, it is actively engaging state communities that are sincere and have the capability to provide the much needed security that can prevent human predators and other non-supportive elements from undermining the restocking effort.
According to BMR Director, the national clam planting program’s restocking effort will eventually be based on the suitability and the availability of conservation rangers in the state to provide security over the transplanted clams.

“Conservation in Palau is beautifully falling into place”, says the BMR Director. “The PAN Network has created these wonderful and protected sites that we can repopulate the giant clam in. BMR supplies the giant clams and the state governments provide the state rangers, whose salaries are paid from the PAN, to guard against poaching. Restocking in the PAN sites can be successful if the State Rangers can do a good job. Our communities will always have unscrupulous and non-supportive opportunists and enforcement must be real and serious”, he added.

Earlier, Governor Shmull had written to the Bureau for a number of grown giant clams to restock the state’s conservation area which is directly across from the Peleliu Dock. BMR support the Southern State vision to repopulate the species  in their waters and along the way, produce an ample number of giant clams to be enjoyed by snorkeling visitors, which would be a fine example of eco-tourism. To this end, and to implement the very purpose of the Giant Clam Seed Sustainability Project Fund (GCSSPF), the young adult clams were purchased from local clam farmer and transplanted in the Teluleu marine protected area.

“Before the next batches of clams are brought there, BMR and its partner PPANCO will conduct a status survey to determine the effectiveness of the security blanket provided and called for in the MOU. I have every confidence that the number of clams will still be there and we will be able to increase that number to fulfill the meaningful wishes of the state government and the PPANCO Rangers”, concluded Acting Director Remengesau.


PICRC and Partners Offer Specialized Training for Airai Conservation Officers

On February 8, 2016, Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) hosted the opening ceremony of the Palau Protected Areas Network (PAN) Conservation Officer Training course for Airai State Rangers.

Opening remarks were made by PICRC’s Dr. Yimnang Golbuu with special remarks from Mr. Nobuaki Matsui, Director of Japan International Collaboration Agency (JICA), Palau Office, and the Honorable Governor Tmewang Rengulbai. This training will also include guest speakers who will share their special role in conservation such as the PAN Program Manager, Mr. King Sam as well as Palau Conservation Society’s (PCS) Conservation and Protected Areas Manager, Ms. Lolita Gibbons-Decherong.

This training is being led by the research team at PICRC with inputs and guidance by PAN Office, PCA, and Palau Community College (PCC). The course will emphasize specific needs and the importance of the sea grass beds of Medal Ngediull as well as provide techniques on surveying methods suitable for Medal Ngeduill habitat. By redirecting the focus of the training to a specific topic, the rangers will be more comfortable and specialized for the needs of Airai State.

Over the next week and a half from February 8th to the 17th, Airai State Rangers will be learning Marine Protected Area (MPA) monitoring protocols which are geared specifically to the needs of Airai’s MPA, Medal Ngediull. Through there has been other trainings in the past, this is the first time PICRC has provided specialized training to al rangers of a specific state. The procedures taught are the same methods PICRC uses to survey and will allow Airai State to continuously monitor Medal Ngediull. It is hoped that this training course and the valuable skills learned from this training will be utilized by the rangers and will inspire other states and individuals to do the same.


Dr. Golbuu at the Our Ocean Conference

Dr. Yimnang GolbuuDr. Yimnang Golbuu, CEO of the Palau International Coral Reef Center, has just been elected as Vice President of the International Society for Reef Studies (ISRS), the largest professional organization for coral reef researchers and managers. The Society has over 600 members from 70 nations, and publishes the scientific journal Coral Reefs, which is one of the primary sources for recent research reports on coral reef ecosystems. Dr. Golbuu’s election to this important position is a reflection of Palau International Coral Reef Center’s (PICRC) international recognition as a world-class coral reef research center. “Yimnang’s election to this prestigious post is no surprise to me,” said Dr. Bob Richmond, the past President of the Society who nominated him. “Yimnang is not only a highly productive and respected scientist, but he is also an excellent communicator who brings a very important cultural perspective to the field of coral reef research and can bridge the best of traditional knowledge with modern science.” “At a time when coral reefs are in decline worldwide, Yim’s knowledge and leadership skills will be of great value to the ISRS goals of using science to support coral reef sustainability as a legacy for the future.”

“Palau not only possesses some of the world’s most diverse and exquisite coral reef ecosystems,” says Richmond, “but through the efforts of President Remengesau, Minister Sengebau and past OEK Speaker Noah Idechong, Palau is recognized as a world leader in coral reef and marine resource stewardship.”

Our Ocean Conference

Dr. Golbuu is the first Pacific Islander to hold such a high leadership position for ISRS, and brings a valuable set of perspectives, experiences and knowledge to bear on the future direction of the Society as its members strive to put their science to work in preserving coral reefs and the lives of those who depend on them. He will also play an important role in the organization of the 13th International Coral Reef Symposium, a gathering of over 2,500 coral reef scientists and managers to be held in Hawaii in June 2016, in which Palau will be featured through the leadership and participation of President Remengesau for a planned regional leaders summit.


PAN Conservation Officers Training Begins

PAN Conservation Officers TrainingOn Monday August 1, 2014 Palau international Coral reef Center (PICRC) hosted a brief opening ceremony of Palau Protected Network (PAN) Conservation Training at the Kedarm Conference Room. The ceremony was opened by the PICRC CEO Dr. YimnangGolbuu, followed by the Minister of Natural Resources, Environment and Tourism, Honorable UmiichSengebau, Dr. Patrick U. Tellei,President of Palau Community College (PCC) and His Excellency Kazuhiro Tajiri, Ambassador of the Embassy of Japan and closed by Director Matsui Nobuaki of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Palau Office. Over thirty participants attended the ceremony included Governors, Browny Salvador from Ngarchelong, Renguul Masahiro from Ngardmau, TmewangRengulbai from Airai and Maria Gates from Angaur State. Koror State Director Jose Ise, Administrative Officer Ernest Ongidobel, PAN Coordinators and conservation officers from the states of Koror, Ngardmau, Angaur, Ngaraard, Ngarchelong, Airai, and Kayangel and the staff of PICRC, PAN Office, PAN Fund and Japan Embassy were also present at the ceremony.

After the ceremony, the PAN Conservation training began at the PICRC Student Lab, PICRC Researchers, Marine Gouezo, Lincoln Rehm and ShirelyKoshiba together with the Head of Research and Aquarium Department Geraldine Rengiil are conducting the training to a selected number of PAN conservation officers. Lessons and field activities during the training includes proper ecological methods in monitoring of MPAs; identification of corals, fish, invertebrates, sea grass; and managing and conserving our marine resources.T

he purpose of the training is to help provide support in areas that conservation officers need and to be certified in managing their state Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Collaborating with PCC and PANO to conduct the training with the technical assistance of JICA and Palau Coral Reef Island Ecosystem (P-CORIE) fulfill PICRC’s mission in supporting conservation and management for the perpetuation of marine and associated environments through research and education that is significant to Palau and relevant to the world.


Palau commits $1.4 million for invasive species projects
Src: Island Times | Tuesday, August 5, 2014

President Tommy E. Remengesau Jr. said that Palau is committing a sum total of $1.4 million of its GEF6 Biodiversity allocation for three Invasive Species projects.

Remengesau made this announcement during the Invasive Species Side-Event held last July 28 at the Palasia Hotel. Remengesau explained that the $1.4 million will be allocated to three projects namely $500,000 will go towards the implementation of Palau’s regional Biosecurity Plan; $500,000 will go towards the integration of the Invasive Species program into Palau’s Protected Areas Management System; and $400,000 will go towards targeted and practical eradication projects.

“Invasive Species are widely acknowledged as one of the worst threats to biodiversity in our islands- All of our Islands. But they are much more than just a subcategory of Biodiversity: Other than climate Change, no other issue has greater potential to directly impact our economies, our precious natural heritage, our food security and our ecosystem resilience than do invasive species,” Remengesau said.

He also acknowledges the efforts of Lord Tu’ivakano from Tonga, who is helping to lead the fight against invasive species in the Pacific Region. Tonga has committed $1.5 million in the fight against invasive species.

“Each of our countries has tremendous opportunity to engage this enemy now, at every level. That is why my esteemed colleague, Lord Tu’ivakano, and I are issuing this Call to Action on Invasive Species. It is our hope that otherPacific Islands will join us in this call. It is our belief that we cannot afford not to make commitment –NOW-for the future of our respective islands. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. This saying is especially true in regards to Invasive Species. The most effective means of avoiding the costly impacts of Invasive Species on our economy and our environment is to prevent infestations from ever occurring in the first place,” Remengesau added.

Remengesau stressed that Palau and the other Pacific Countries are very fortunate as the region has done a lot of homework to pave the way to this and other commitments. He said that the Pacific has regional bodies, like SPREP and SPC, the Pacific Invasive Learning Network, the Pacific Invasive Partnership, the Micronesia Regional Invasive Species Council.

“With our continental Pacific partners, have been developed and that possess great knowledge and expertise about controlling and eradicating the Invasive that currently plague us and we have each other. We have our long history of working together in regional and sub-regional partnership to address a common need or to advance a common cause. And we have our strong and enduring relationship with our continental allies and development partner to help leverage our efforts and commitments. Not all countries are in the same place, but we do have similar issues, and we can all accomplish more by working together,” he explained.

During the 45th Pacific Island Forum, leaders from the Small Island States (SIS) recalled their decisions from the 2013 Forum in Majuro, acknowledging the importance of effectively dealing with invasive species through integrated action and effective partnership to reduce the threats to Pacific economies, communities and environments, and to enhance climate change adaptation and sustainable development efforts.

Leaders acknowledged the progress made by SPREP andSPC in formalizing theestablishment of the Invasive Species Advisory Group, under the auspices of the Heads of CROP agencies. Leaders further acknowledged and welcomed the contribution of the Pacific Invasive Partnership through preparation of a report on the state of invasive species management in the forum region.
Leaders welcomed the Pacific Commitment to combat invasive species noting announcements by some of the Forum members toward this commitment and called upon development partners and donor community to support the Pacific Commitment to strengthen efforts to prevent, control and eradicate invasive species in Forum Countries.

On the other hand, Remengesau stated the all the pieces are in place to accomplish great things and what is needed now is to resource the organizations and initiatives adequately.

“Let us take the necessary steps strengthen our regional capacity to fight invasive species through a stronger PIF commitment, bolstered by stronger cooperative agenda and Advisory Groups, supported by our existing CROP Agencies. Let us reflect these commitments in our PIF outcomes and then take these commitments forward to the SIDS Conference in Samoa and to the United Nations General Assembly in September,” Remengesau said.


CI completes a $3 Million investment focused on safeguarding the Pacific Ocean
Src: Island Times | Friday, August 1, 2014

The pledge to the Micronesian Challenge, which supports urgent conservation efforts of natural resources crucial to Pacific traditions, cultures and livelihoods, was reached ahead of the 2018 schedule.

At the Pacific Oceanscape Leaders Reception, the day before the 45th Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) begins, Conservation International (CI), the leading global organization that focuses on the links between development and the environment to benefit human well-being, provided the final investment towards its endowment to sustainably finance the Micronesia Challenge (MC).

Established in 2006, the Micronesia Challenge aims to sustain the biodiversity of Micronesia in order to ensure a healthy future for its people, protect its unique island cultures and sustain the livelihoods for its island communities. The overall goal of the Challenge is to effectively conserve at least 30 percent of the near-shore marine resources and 20 percent of the terrestrial resources across Micronesia by 2020.

Greg Stone, CI Chief Scientist and Executive Vice President of The Betty and Gordon More Center for Science and Oceans, presented the President of the Republic of Palau, His Excellency Tommy E Remengesau, Jr., and President of the Federated States of Micronesia, H.E. Emanuel Mori each with a cheque of US$1 million. This follows CI’s completion of its US $1 million contribution to the Republic of the Marshall Islands last year.

Environmental threats such as deforestation, unsustainable fishing practices, invasive species and climate change have degraded the natural resources of Micronesia. A vast Pacific region comprised of over 2,000 islands with an ocean area over twice the size of India (6.7 million square kilometres), the Challenge represents more than 20 percent of the Pacific Island region and 5 percent of the largest ocean in the world.

The Micronesia Challenge funding was made possible via CI’s Global Conservation Fund (GCF). CI- New Zealand and Pacific Islands Executive Director Sue Taei reaffirmed the importance of sustainable financing for such initiatives. “This investment provides important financing for protected area networks that have significant running costs to ensure that they are effectively safeguarded, that local communities benefit from them and that their inherent value is maintained in perpetuity.”

Taei further highlighted the link of the Pacific Oceanscape, an initiative by the leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum to foster ocean stewardship and integrated management, and CI’s investment in the Micronesia Challenge. “The Micronesia Challenge is a significant part of the Pacific Oceanscape framework. The Challenge has inspired other bold ocean management initiatives including the Caribbean Challenge, the Coral Triangle Initiative, and the newly launched Western Indian Ocean Coastal Challenge. Such commitments represent a sea change in ocean conservation- one that will help provide food and livelihoods for people in the region and around the world.”
Micronesia contains some of the richest and diverse marine and terrestrial resources found anywhere on earth. This natural capital sustains the livelihoods for nearly 500,000 locals, who are traditional stewards of their lands and waters. The Challenge protects more than 1,000 species of reef fish, 85 bird species, and 1,400 kinds of plants. It also safeguards more than 480 coral species- 60 percent of all known species of coral.

The annual benefits from coral reefs to the Pacific, in terms of fisheries, tourism, coastal protection and biodiversity, has been estimated by the Micronesia Challenge at US$2 billion, and approximately US$800 million worth of benefits annually may be distributed across Micronesia.


19 Filipino Fishermen Rescued
Src: Island Times | Friday, August 1, 2014

Some 19 fishermen from the Philippines were rescued off Sonsorol Island after drifting at sea for more than three weeks.

Sonsorol Governor Jacob Yangilmau told Island Times that he and a group of Sonsorol residents and government staff were on their way to Sonsorol on July 10, 2014 when they chanced upon the fishermen.

Yangilmau was travelling with some Sonsorol leaders and residents together with staff from the Environmental Quality Protection Board (EQPB) and Division of Marine Law to look into and assess the damage wrought by a giant barge that earlier ran aground on the island of Sonsorol.
“We were travelling by boat when several people from the Filipino boat came over us in a skiff (small boat) to ask for our assistance,” he recounted.

Yangilmau said that there were a total of 19 fishermen aboard the boat. Yangilmau said that the boat the Filipinos were riding off was a 70-footer motorized banca.

“The fishermen told us that their boat drifted after it suffered from engine problem. According to them, seawater contaminated the engine causing for the engine to break down,” the Governor stated. Yangilmau said that they gave coconuts and other food to the fishermen and towed their boat to a safer area on the eastern side of the reef in the island.

Yangilmau said that the fishermen were down to two weeks supply of food and water when they were found. “They told us that they were drifting at sea for more than three weeks after their banca developed engine problem,” the Governor disclosed. The Governor also said that the health and medical needs of the fishermen while they were stranded in Sonsorol were also taken care of.
He said that they later learned that the fishermen were based in General Santos City in the southern part of the Philippines. The fishermen were reportedly working for a fishing company owned by Jake Lu. Lu is also the President of the Fresh Frozen Tuna Association.

The Governor said they contacted the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) and other concerned agencies on the plight of the fishermen. Yangilmau said that the fishermen stayed in Sonsorol until last week when another boat was dispatched from the Philippines to bring them back home.

He said that the return of the fishermen was delayed by bad weather.

“When the weather cleared, another boat from the Philippines came to Sonsorol to bring back the fishermen. The same boat towed away the stranded boat which needs to be overhauled because of engine damage it has sustained,” Yangilmau informed.

Sonsorol Island is one of the islands that comprise Sonsorol State. Sonsorol State, which is part of the Palau’s southwest islands, is located 400 miles east of the southeastern tip of the Philippines.


US Forestry, Palau Forestry initiate permanent forest dynamics plot in Ngardok Nature Reserve

Will connect Ngardok Reserve to a global network of plots linked by the Smithsonian Institute

climbingBlisang, Melekeok State: On May 3rd Emerick Kintaro and Svetlena Kadoi from Ngardok Nature Reserve (NNR), and Larry Mamis and Omekrael Sadang from Palau Forestry flew to Hawaii for a month long training in monitoring forest growth in permanent plot systems in Hilo Hawaii. The plot system is monitored every 5 years for tree growth. After the successful training a team from US Forestry in Hawaii, Amanda Uolowo, Craig Costion, and Julian Dendy have arrived to initiate two plots in treePalau. After a site survey at Ngardok, the team has received permission from the Governor of Melekeok State and NNR management to create 1 plot in the Reserve. The plot and its measurements will allow scientists and researchers to access baseline data of forest conditions in Ngardok. It is believed that by joining this permanent plot system; more opportunities for terrestrial research will become available to PAN sites in Palau. Beyond the scientific benefits, the plot system will be used to educate students that visit the reserve on how to take measurements, monitor forest health, and become citizen scientists. The site at Ngardok Nature Reserve will be utilized to train other state conservation officers on monitoring forest health and growth over time. The Belau National Museum will also contribute to the project by housingand maintaining a reference collection of voucher specimens for all the species that occur in the plot in the Belau National Museum Herbarium. Currently a team from US Forestry, Palau Forestry, and all available staff from Ngardok are working on completing the 1-hectare (100m by 100m) plot and obtaining a species count of that plot. Completion of the plot is expected by early September.

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