BY JOHN HOUANIHAU
A married couple in the Solomon Islands has previously taken up a bold step to set up a ‘Conservation Association’ that will help survive, fight and protect the tribal rainforest in the heart of the central highlands of East Are’are, Malaita province.
Mr. Gabriel Rorehanua and his wife, Regina Tautauhono Rorehanua pioneered the idea of setting up the Roreaita Biodiversity Rainforest Conservation Association just after they got married in 2018.
The Roreaita Biodiversity Rainforest Conservation Association now operates to conserve the rainforest which has a land mass of 516 hectares and is owned by the people and tribes of Ro-Rorowera, Re-Renamanu, Ai-Aimauma, and Ta-Tawaenupu.
The Roreaita Conservation Association is a community-based association comprised of sub-tribal land resource owners and was formally registered in early 2018 and based in the central highlands of Sumane village, along the border of East Kwaio and East Are ‘are.
The association is formed as part of its plan to conserve, manage and sustain the remaining natural hill slope forests, cloud forests, and the freshwater ecosystem and rich biodiversity in that particular region in the Solomon Islands. It is about 10 kilometers from Roreaita to reach the high water mark of Manawai village in the East Are‘are region of Malaita Province.
This tribal land provides a suitable habitat for the endemic and unique flora and fauna found on the island of Malaita Province. The land is located on the south-eastern corner of the Wairaha River Basin in the heart of the central highlands of East Are’are Constituency approximately 500m-700m above sea level.
Mr. Gabriel is a qualified surveyor and Regina is certified in the field of environmental studies. Both have previously completed diploma studies at the Solomon Islands National University (SINU).
According to Mrs. Rorehanua, with the passionate support of her husband, their dream to form the association to protect the rainforest (biodiversity including its rare fauna and flora species) for the betterment of the future generation of that particular natural setting was achieved, thanks to her family, tribes, and community of from Roreaita.
“On 17th September 2019, we initially carried out our first awareness at Orea village, in the central highlands mainly to inform the community and tribe members about the initiatives and they all agreed.
“Our Mission is to work together with our community and tribes including women, men, youths, children, and people with disability through the enhancement of their livelihood and culturally valued skills, natural knowledge on sustainability, and on how to take responsibility to look after their natural forest resources and surround environment.
“Our objective is also to reach a carbon trading deal and more especially to ensure our natural resources are used sustainably.
“We also want to protect our culture, and traditional practices of land management; promote gender equality, and also to involve more women, girls, men, and boys in conservation work and prioritizing Agriculture activities.
“Our objectives are also to retain the extinct species on terrestrial and freshwater, and to re-value the traditional arts and cultural identities by putting it back again into its original Roreaita traditional practices, establishment ecotourism projects in the future, preserving our natural herbs plants as pharmacy hardware for next future generation and to provide an avenue for our students and international researchers to pursue their research finds and research thesis,’’ Mrs. Rorehanua said.