Mangrove Ecosystem Threatened in West Kwaio

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MANGROVE ecosystems in the West Kwaio region in Malaita Province are increasingly under threat from increased logging activities.

West Kwaio coastal areas in the Solomon Islands, where agriculture and fisheries are widely practiced at subsistence levels, unsustainable commercial logging activities have disproportionately large impacts on rural livelihoods and food security.

The rural communities in West Kwaio harvest fish, crabs, and shellfish at subsistence level and including the cutting of poles (traditional building materials) for the construction of houses and firewood from the mangroves, according to Community Based Resources Management (CBRM) Chief, Peter Kenilorea.

He said the often unmentioned is the critically important environmental protection provided by mangroves such as defending against tropical cyclones, coastal surges and serving as a nursery for marine species.

“The mangrove ecosystems are critical resources in such rural communities where they provide food, a range of harvests, and livelihood benefits that are used by coastal communities. Over the years, mangroves contribute to the productivity of the coastal communities that is vital for their survival.

“It is fundamental that roles of the customary and traditional owners of the resource and governments at the local and national levels and the challenges that mangrove management or conservation must overcome in order to ensure the protection and health of this habitat that is fundamental to human wellbeing,” Peter expressed.

He demanded that comprehensive conservation of mangroves in the country must be a collaborative effort that must be driven at the community, public and political to solve the problem especially to restore or conserve this valuable coastal environment.

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Lynda Wate
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