The project aim is to secure the circa 8,000 ha Chivoko watershed forests and place them legally beyond the reach of industrial logging ventures. The project will draw on national expertise to produce a collaborative watershed management plan that provides a pathway for sustainable forest development practices by a community cooperative.
The goal of the project is to provide a watershed service assessment integrated into the forest development planning. The Chivoko population is aware of the negative consequences of wholesale logging. Led by the Tribal elders and with the help of the Lauru Land Conference of Tribal Communities (LLCTC) they have won a High Court injunction in preventing the logging of the forest. To abandon the logging companies from the Chivoko province the people need to evolve an alternative development opportunity, which includes sustainable forest management practice. LLCTC will together with the support of the community identify key zones of watershed importance and demarcate community land and forest boundaries. To ensure the sustainability the results will be drawn in the Chivoko Watershed Forest Management Plan, which will be incorporated in a provincial level directive. The LLCTC will further provide the community with training in sustainable forest management practice and will develop and assist the Chivoko Community Cooperative to find alternative income generation possibilities.
Country / Region
The Chivoko watershed on Choiseul Island forms part of one of the last remaining intact forests in the Solomon Islands. Choiseul Island is the largest island of the Solomons with an area of 2917 km2. It lies between the island of Bougainville and Santa Isabel. The Chivoko mountain is the source of streams and rivers that nurture a system of mangroves and intertidal lagoons and they ensure a healthy coastal ecosystem.
Information about local context
Chivoko is an isolated tribal community accessible only by sea and by river. It is one of the poorest communities in the Pacific. All areas surrounding Chivoko have been completely logged and adverse impacts are starkly obvious. The fragile reef and coastal ecosystems are dependent on the inland forest watershed system. They are already under customary protection, but international logging companies still try to log the forest.
Chances / Risks
A possible risk could be that companies will not respect the legislated ban of large scale logging. Although this is highly unlikely since enforcement by the community will ensure that boundaries are clearly demarcated.
Participation of the communities
Project development to date has involved a broad range of stakeholders. The LLCTC itself is a community-based organisation representing the voices of the people of Lauru – the traditional name for Choiseul Island. The project is a direct reflection of local needs within Chivoko.
To hinder logging companies of illegal exploitation of the Chivoko forest mitigation and monitoring will focus on two aspects: enforcement and whistle-blowing. Enforcement by the community will ensure that boundaries are clearly demarcated; that patrolling and monitoring is ongoing. Legal provisions in the Chivoko Watershed Forest Management Plan will detail punitive and enforcement measures.
Project update 2009
The initial activities focused on community participation and in joint decision-making of the Chivoko people to ban logging of the Chivoko forest by big logging companies. The local decisions are enshrined in the provincial level directive and enact the provisions of the Chivoko Watershed Forest Management Plan, to be developed during the project. Now the critical catchment zones have been demarcated. Furthermore the 3D-modeling of the area of the Chivoko island has been done by the community members. This model will help to clearly map out the re-sources of the Chivoko people and to draw a collaborative watershed plan that provides a pathway for sustainable forest development practices by the community. The community also voted for the total ban of large scale logging. This ban has been signed by the chiefs of Chivoko.