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The use of herpetofauna and cultural values to identify priority conservation forests on Malaita, Solomon Islands

Pollard, E. and Thaman, Randolph R. and Brodie, Gilianne D. and Morrison, C. (2014) The use of herpetofauna and cultural values to identify priority conservation forests on Malaita, Solomon Islands. Pacific Conservation Biology, 20 (4). pp. 354-362. ISSN 1038-2097

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Due to limited financial and technical resources, there is a pressing need to identify priority areas and strategies for conservation globally. This study aims to prioritize important forest areas for conservation on the island of Malaita, Solomon Islands. Five different forest types were sampled to quantify biodiversity using the species richness of frogs and lizards (herpetofauna) as a biological indicator of conservation status. Unlogged coastal, unlogged lowland and unlogged upland forests have minimal disturbance whereas logged lowland forests and plantation teak forests are heavily disturbed. Subsequently, the effects of human modification on forest systems are also quantified based on anthropogenic disturbance. Interviews with local community members were conducted to gather associated local traditional knowledge on the cultural importance of frogs, lizards and forest habitats. Prioritization methods based on species richness, species uniqueness, cultural importance and threatened status are used to identify key forest areas. The four main results found are: 1) unlogged lowland forests have the greatest biodiversity value, 2) unlogged lowland forests also have the highest cultural value based on local uses, 3) logged lowland forests are biologically important, and 4) unlogged coastal forests and unlogged lowland forests are under the greatest threat from anthropogenic activities. Based on these results, the conservation of unlogged lowland forests on Malaita should be prioritized. These results also highlight the importance of combining biological sampling with cultural information to improve the efficiency and long-term success of conservation actions.

Item Type: Journal Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment (FSTE) > School of Biological and Chemical Sciences
Depositing User: Gilianne Brodie
Date Deposited: 03 Mar 2015 04:56
Last Modified: 12 May 2016 23:11

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