Lake Lanoto’o has finally been recognised officially as a wetland of international importance by the Ramsar List.
Eight years after Samoa signed the Ramsar Convention, through the administration and management of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, with guidance and support from SPREP, the “Lake Lanoto’o National Park” has been recognised as Ramsar site No. 1412.
Ramsar is the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance. It is an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.
The inclusion of Lake Lanoto’o National Park in the Ramsar List is a clear indication of the Government’s commitment to implement the convention, in order to achieve the conservation and sustainable use of this important wetlands in Samoa.
The Ramsar Convention is the only global environmental treaty that deals with a particular ecosystem.
The treaty was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971 and the Convention's member countries cover all geographic regions of the planet.
The Convention on Wetlands (RAMSAR) came into force for Samoa on 6 February 2005.
The Lake Lanoto’o National Park has three small crater lakes (Lake Lanoto'o, Lanoata'ata and Lanoanea) in the central highlands of the main island of Upolu, among the few remaining near-pristine crater lakes in the Samoas biogeographic region.
The site is part of the larger catchment above the capital city, Apia, and covers an area of 8,500 hectares, which includes its two sub-catchments, Vaisigano and Fuluasou.
Lake Lanoto'o feeds the headwaters of the Fuluasou river system, which is a very important source of water for Apia, and it also supplies water for the southwest side of Upolu.
The site supports endemic bird species such as the endangered Tooth-billed Pigeon (Didunculus strigirostris) and the endangered Mao (Gymnomyza samoensis), as well as the Samoan Starling (Aplonis atrifusca), Samoan Whistler (Pachycephala flavifrons), Samoan Broadbill (Myiagra Albiventris) and Samoan Triller (Lalage Sharpei).
The endangered Samoan Bush Palm (Clinostigma samoense) is also found at the site. Land uses in the surrounding areas consist of cattle farms and small-scale plantations.
Land tenure consists of approximately 69 per cent is government owned, 26per cent customary lands and five per cent private.
Conservation measures have been proposed for the site and require commitment and support from all parties.
Lake Lanotoo National Park is also a key biodiversity area for conservation and an important bird area.