Supporting Resilient Biocultural Land- and Seascapes in the Solomon Islands

Over their long histories, communities in the Pacific Islands have developed a variety of strategies to withstand different challenges, including extreme weather patterns and catastrophic events (such as tsunamis and hurricanes). This ability to survive and adapt in the face of change -- also known as resilience -- is a major area for research in sustainability and conservation science. Today, extraordinary change-- including climatic, environmental, demographic, and cultural change -- is testing the resilience of Pacific communities.

Enhancing Community Resilience 

We are working with partners in four communities in the Western Province of the Solomon Islands to support local efforts to meet these challenges. One of the main objectives of the project is to help communities to better understand and enhance their resilience and identify the most important aspects (social and environmental) of their community that they would like to maintain and enhance. This includes developing methods and indicators together with communities to assess, measure, and make plans to manage their valued natural resources based on locally defined goals and priorities.

Women gathering shellfish in the Solomon Islands

Local women gathering shells and other invertebrates for cooking in West Parara. © Miri Taqu

One issue identified as central by research participants was dietary change and negative health impacts from increased consumption of processed food due to various pressures. Dwindling fish stocks, declining soil fertility, and decreased interest in agriculture (especially among younger generations) are all negatively affecting local food production. In addition, cultural traditions contributing to food security, such as sharing fish and other catches among extended families, are also under threat due to increased market orientation of many livelihoods. 

Using mixed methods, our research aim to understand what people are eating now, the nutritional value of that diet, and where the food comes from – both in terms of whether it comes from local gardens, mangroves or the store, and in terms of whether people acquire food themselves or if it's shared among community members. By understanding these different aspects of diet, we hope to better understand some of the social, cultural, and ecological dimensions of food security, resilience, and the connection between communities and their land- and seascapes. 

Main accomplishments

The CBC's research on biodiversity and food security in the Solomon Islands is led by CBC Scientist, Dr. Georgina Cullman.

Related pages:
Additional resources:
Project partners:  
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Solomon Islands Community Conservation Partnership (SICCP)
University of Queensland
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Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Melanesia 
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