BY JOHN HOUANIHAU
A new Association has been launched as the latest step in protecting the rich and rare rainforest in the remote central highlands of East Are’are in the province of Malaita.
Roreaita Biodiversity Rainforest Conservation Association has been unveiled as the new name for the conservation group, which will operate to conserve the natural forests of the people and tribes of Ro-Rorowera, Re-Renamanu, Ai-Aimauma, and Ta-Tawaenupu.
The Association was formed and registered in early 2018 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.
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.
The official launch program also integrated with the two days of capacity building and training for indigenous rangers which involved teaching environmental legislation, rangers’ roles in the protected areas, and biological surveys and baseline studies.
More than a hundred people comprised of youths, adults, chiefs, elders, and neighboring tribal representatives witnessed the official launching of the Roreaita Biodiversity Rainforest Conservation Association on 17 January 2023.
The people’s participation at the official launch was seen as an indication of their support towards the ambitions and vision of the new Association.
The launch also coincided with an awareness program to educate rural resource owners on the importance of managing and protecting their natural resources from logging and mining.
The tribal members also discussed the development of their first draft management plan which will support their applications for Protected Areas (PA) recognition from the national government of Solomon Islands.
The Association also thanks the Solomon Islands Rangers Association consultant Mr. Albert Chris Kwatelae for his effort and support towards the tribe, people, and the new Association, and Mrs. Henslyn David Boseto for his support in delivering the PA toolkit and process on how to go about the PA applications.
They also thank the mentoring Community-Based Organizations (CBOs), NGOs such as SICAN, individual experts, and provincial and national government officers for encouragement, linking, and sharing of information.