The Pacific-Asia Biodiversity Transect (PABITRA) is a network of the Ecosystem Division in the Pacific Science Association's Task Force on Biodiversity. The PABITRA project seeks to develop a network of ocean-to-mountain transects on islands across the Pacific to test hypotheses about biodiversity and promote sustainable use of island ecosystems under the influence of global change. A specific objective of PABITRA was to establish an ocean-to-mountain transect in Fiji with major involvement of the resident islanders. Along this transect, a number of biodiversity study sites were to be selected for further research. The transect was established during two consecutive field workshops, from 18 November to 3 December 2002. Involved were 25 University of the South Pacific (USP) students, eight local faculty including Fiji Government and nongovernmental organization officials, and seven overseas collaborators. The outcome was documented in a 69-page illustrated report issued by the USP Institute of Applied Sciences as well as at a special symposium presented during the 20th Pacific Science Congress in Bangkok (17–21 March 2003) titled “Island Landscapes under Global Change: the PABITRA Project.” Seven papers presented by members of the Fijian PABITRA group are published here, following this introductory paper. In addition, five papers introducing PABITRA activities outside Fiji are included in this special issue. The PABITRA project is ongoing and it is hoped that these papers will stimulate broad interest and participation in PABITRA's key objectives of promoting integrative resource management in Pacific Island environments.
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Vol. 59 • No. 2