PS 56-3 - Socio-ecological production system of forests in the Roviana, Solomon Islands: Villagers’ resources uses and vegetation diversity

Thursday, August 11, 2011
Exhibit Hall 3, Austin Convention Center
Takuro Furusawa, Graduate School of Asian and African Area Studies, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan

Although traditional societies have been utilizing their surrounding natural environment for their subsistence and survival, they also developed knowledge and behaviors for managing the resources in a sustainable way. As discussed in COP 10 of Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 2010, the conservation of biodiversity focuses not only on preserving pristine environments but also on the socio-ecological production system that have been shaped by human-nature interactions over the years. This study reports how a subsistence population use and manage natural resources and what kinds of landscape and biodiversity have been formed in Roviana, the Solomon Islands. Based on interviews, local landscape classes were identified; indigenous knowledge related with flora and fauna were also collected. A quadrat (50 m x 50 m) was made in each class and all trees >10 cm DBH, local names of which were identified by informants, were counted. In addition, all plant species used in daily life (i.e., foods, building materials, medicine, tools, and fuel) were recorded and counted both in a rural village (15 HHs randomly sampled from 64 HHs) and in a periurban village (17 HHs from 206 HHs). 


The rural villagers had forest areas called rizevu (borrowing word from “reserve”) where logging by foreign companies and agricultural cultivation are both prohibited but the villagers are allowed to collect trees and non-wood materials for their own subsistence purposes. Pioneer species (e.g., Dillenia spp.) were more found in rizevu than the primary forest (muqe). In rizevu, 52.3% of trees were species which the people used as building materials in the rural village, while the proportion was only 18.4% in the periurban village (P <0.001). The proportion of trees which were found in the primary forest and used as the building materials accounted for 36.0% in the periurban village but only 26.6% in the rural village (P = 0.004); however, most of the building materials in the former were timbers which were purchased from logging companies operating in neighboring areas. Trees found in mangroves (petupetuana) were seldom used in the periurban area where few mangroves remained. In conclusion, this study suggested that the rural villagers’ daily use might have formed new vegetation in which various useful species were grown or vice versa. Diversities in landscape and vegetation were thought to be related with the villagers' utilization and management.

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