Talāsiga is a term frequently used in the literature to describe Fijian landscapes with a distinct pattern of plants and soils. The specific meaning in Fijian is unclear and there are varying interpretations of the term in the literature, although authors agree that such areas are indicative of low soil fertility. This paper examines the early literature on talāsiga, and attempts to reconcile the differences in use. The possible processes of development of such conditions from forest are discussed and data are presented from recent field studies on the progress from forest to grassland evolution in a 30-year time frame at Seaqaqa, Vanua Levu. The evidence points to the likely change over substantial areas from forest to highly degraded soils and associated grass/fern/shrub vegetation within a very short (<50 years) time frame. Such changes will have dramatic impacts on farmers using such lands.
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Vol. 73 • No. 1