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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - The Nature Conservancy Indo-Pacific Division, Solomon Islands, Brisbane
Title Ridges to reefs conservation plan for Isabel Province, Solomon Islands
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2012
URL https://www.researchgate.net/profile/R_Hamilton/publication/257345390_Ridges_to_Reefs_Conservation_P​lan_for_Isabel_Province_Solomon_Islands/links/0c960524f6bf34cde7000000.pdf
The Isabel Ridges to Reefs Conservation Plan can be used to guide future conservation and development activities throughout Isabel. The plan allows stakeholders to visualise the location of conservation priorities for Isabel Province, the threats that the biodiversity of Isabel faces and what a successfully implemented protected area network across Isabel could look like under several different scenarios. It provides an important step towards establishing an Isabel Ridges to Reefs Protected Area Network (IPAN), which would support future food and freshwater security, preserve the islands remarkable biodiversity and reduce the stress on terrestrial and marine environments, hereby increasing the resilience of natural systems to external shocks such as climate change.

The process of developing the plan was locally driven and involved a range of stakeholders. The planning process included an initial stakeholder planning workshop in Buala in February 2012, a second stakeholder planning workshop in Kia in April 2012 and a final workshop in Buala in June 2012. These workshops brought together community members from every district of Isabel, along with representatives from provincial and national government, NGOs and development industries. The workshops began with presentations from church leaders, government officials, chiefs and scientists on the status of Isabel’s environment and the need to protect it for the future prosperity of the people of Isabel. Workshop facilitators then presented the best available national scale data on the various marine and forest types of Isabel, and described some of the threats these different types of habitats face. To document fine scale information and make the planning process relevant, stakeholders used participatory mapping to identify local features within their customarily owned lands and seas that are of high conservation value to them. These features represent important biological and cultural resources that would benefit from protection or management, such as sources of freshwater, cultural heritage sites, turtle nesting beaches, fish spawning aggregations and megapode nesting areas. Participatory mapping was also used to identify threats to biodiversity (e.g. logging, mining and areas susceptible to climate change) and to map areas of conservation opportunity, such as sites that are proposed but not yet managed. These local conservation features were digitised and put into a Geographic Information System (GIS) format. Conservation targets (how much of each feature should be protected across Isabel) were set at a minimum of 17% for all terrestrial and 10% for all marine conservation features that were identified from national scale data, that being in line the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) targets which Solomon Islands is a signatory to. Stakeholders wanted higher levels of protection for the locally identified conservation features, so minimum and maximum levels of protection were used for these features. All this information was then analysed with the software Marxan to produce three different conservation priority maps for Isabel Province.

As well as providing background and guidance for conservation and development across Isabel province, this report provides constructive progress regarding Solomon Islands commitment to the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) and the identification of terrestrial and marine priorities as part of the Program of Work on Protected Areas (PoWPA). This report also makes progress towards implementing the Solomon Islands National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) which all of the Premiers of the Solomon Islands signed in 2009. Specifically it addresses Themes 2 and 3 of the NBSAP, which concern species conservation and protected area systems.

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