IV Trends on Climate Change Adaptation
Beekeeping as Pro-forest Income Diversification in Solomon Islands
Wilko Bosma, Stephen Suti and Payton Deeks
Forests of Solomon Islands
Some 76% of Solomon Islands is covered by tropical rainforest, one of the highest in the Pacific. The forests are very rich in commercial tree species (Pauku 2009). The forest ecosystems has been recognized as one of the “Global 200” eco-regions for conservation due to its biodiversity (Olson and Dinnerstein 2002).
Nearly all (87%) forested land in Solomon Islands is customary land, meaning it is held by communal landowning units (tribes). Following a legal change in the 1980s, commercial logging was allowed on customary land (where previously it had only been allowed on government-owned land). Enticed by promises of royalty payments and infrastructure development, many tribes sold timber rights to commercial logging ventures which were owned primarily by Asia-based foreign companies (Frazer 1997; Wairu 2007).
Logging has been a major contributor to Solomon Islands’ national and rural economies for several decades. Exports of forest products contributed 50-70% of the country’s annual export revenue between 2000 and 2009 (CBSI 2009) and continue to be a large component of its economy. Timber stocks in the country have been severely over-harvested during the last two decades. Harvesting within this time period revealed an average yearly increase of 68,500 m3/yr, reaching seven times the estimated sustainable level of 250,000 m3/yr rate within the last five years. Moreover, log production still continues to increase despite earlier assertions that peak production has been reached in 2009 (Fig. 23.1) (Katovai et al. 2015).
W. Bosma (H) • S. Suti
Natural Resources Development Foundation (NRDF), Gizo, Western Province, Solomon Islands
Pacific-American Climate Fund, Manila, Philippines © Springer International Publishing AG 2017
W. Leal Filho (ed.), Climate Change Adaptation in Pacific Countries, Climate Change Management, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-50094-2_23
Fig. 23.1 Log export volume for Solomon Islands between 1995-2014. The rapid increase in logging licenses issued during this period has resulted in a steep increase in logging activities in the country, with harvest quadrupling the sustainable yield. (Katovai et al. 2015)
While the commercial logging ventures do provide employment for local communities and build some schools and clinics, local people are not seeing the benefits that were anticipated, with infrastructure being limited and of poor quality and royalty payments highly variable (Dauverge 1999; Wairu 2007). In a 2013 survey of Choiseul Province, even communities who had sold their forests rights rarely mentioned royalties as a major source of income (Mataki et al. 2013).