BY JOHN HOUANIHAU
Babatana Rainforest Conservation Project consists of six tribal lands called Sirebe, Siporae, Vuri, Padezaka, Garasa, and Lukulombere.
Out of the six tribal lands, there are three tribal lands Sirebe, Siporae, and Padezaka that have already been registered as Legal Protected Area in the Solomon Islands.
According to Nakau Program Carbon Project requirements, for a land qualify to sell carbon credit, it must be secure with the law to safeguard the land and avoid logging activities.
According to a member of the Babatana Rainforest Conservation Project, Cornelius Qaqara, Sirebe, Siporae and Padezaka are in the process of being declared as a Protected Area, most likely this year, 2022.
The name Babatana refers to a local region that includes land belonging to several related tribes of the same speakers of the Babatana language in south Choiseul, Choiseul Province.
Me Qaqara said the tribal lands involved in the BRC Project are all located near the Kolombangara River and are part of the Mount Maetambe Kolombangara River Corridor.
“The Project aims to create a network of local tribes that want to conserve their forests and link with the Nakau Programme (Carbon project) as an alternative to large scale logging that threatens this area,” he said.
He stated that all together, the Babatana Rainforest Conservation group have conserved a total of 9,821.7 hectors.
“On 6th December – 9th December 2021 participant of all protected areas rangers from each 6 tribal group under Babatana rainforest conservation project attended a workshop,’’ he said.
“The main aim/objectives of this workshop are to teach PA rangers to have knowledge how to identify the local trees species in their respective lands. This is one of the important requirements under carbon project.
He told environment media Solomon Islands that the Babatana Rainforest conservation project was established since year 2014.
A major challenge is land dispute, but for this group, they settled those issues through customary land inquiry and local court.
“The Babatana group is working with Natural Resources Development Foundation (NRDF) a local organisation established in Solomon Island and based on Gizo. This organisation is the leading coordinator of this project,’’ said Qaqara.
The current plans for 2022 from the conversation group are to continue to work closely with partners (NRDF) and do, “Protected Area and carbon project process and train PA Rangers for Pre Harvest inventory and Avenza mapping.”