21 Apr 2010

US grant to save American Samoa park from development

3:10 pm on 21 April 2010

An ecologist from the National Park of American Samoa says a one-million US dollar grant will save one of the territory's rainforests from being subdivided and developed.

The US government is providing the grant to protect the Ottoville Rainforest Preserve on Tutuila, which was the subject of a development lawsuit a couple of years ago.

The grant award, announced last week, is part of 72 million US dollars worth of Forest Legacy Program funds to permanently protect privately-owned forests in 33 states and US territories.

An ecologist from the National Park of American Samoa, Peter Craig, says the money will be used to buy the rainforest.

"The landowner has made it clear that he's a business man and wanted to sell off the land. And because this is one of the remaining flat land areas where all the urbanisation has occurred in American Samoa, it's quite valuable. And what would have happened, is it would have been quickly sold off and subdivided and had buildings popped up."

Peter Craig from the National Park of American Samoa.