Improving livelihoods and food security / Invasive species management in Solomon Islands
Food security / Invasive species management
Amount of funding:
€ 294, 653
Solomon Islands have greater species diversity and endemism than any Pacific Island nation (except PNG) and the Rennell Island has the highest endemism per hectare. East Rennell is a World Heritage Site (ERWHS), but its biodiversity and subsistence lifestyles of 900 villagers are threatened by introduced BlackRats and other invasive species. Through this project, our objective is to enhance the ecological and social sustainability of the ERWHS, by strengthening climate resilience through invasive species management (asa nature-based solution), to improve livelihoods, and food security for the ERWHS Communities.
The East Rennell World Heritage Site (ERWHS), approximately 30% of Rennell Island, is representative of the Island’s habitats and exceptionally high levels of endemism, including 13 birds and 7 land snail species. In 2013, ERWHS was declared ‘in danger’ from issues including: lack of Protected Area (PA) status; limited livelihood opportunities and low perceived benefit from WHS status risking future logging; inadequate capacity for ERWHS management and ecological monitoring; and IAS incursions associated with WestRennell mining and logging. A 2018 BirdLife-led study confirmed Black Rat (Rattus rattus) presence island-wide with associated impact on staple crops, coconut and taro, yams, kumara and papaya. An inability top revent further IAS introductions was evident, with Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle and invasive plants identified as recently established, further threatening crops, livelihoods, and biodiversity, and signalling an urgent need for biosecurity.
This project will develop an integrated solution to safeguard the livelihoods and biodiversity of the ERWHS, by establishing sustainable and scale-able capacity drawing on BirdLife’s expertise in managing biodiversity & IAS; and by the development of local grassroot communities, linking to complementary initiatives, notablyLive & Learn (L&L) Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) program, carbon financing, and social & economic development. This project will also beintegrated into BirdLife’s Regional Island Restoration Programme andother BirdLife networks including a Regional Ecosystem Learning Network planned for development; sharinglessons and expertise on IAS management and other threats associated with climate change. In doing so, the project will bridge the spatial divide with peer-to-peer learning amongst Pacific Island countries and create stronger and more efficient capacity building to improve resilience of Pacific Island communities to climate change impact.
ERWHS holds globally important biodiversity, directly threatened by the impacts of climate change, the recent introduction of IAS (particularly Black Rat), and indirectly by livelihood pressures and the lowperceived value of WHS status, risking a shift to unsustainable exploitation of resources. Building on stakeholder relationships and initial community monitoring knowledge developed under the 2018 survey, the project adopts a three-pronged approach to creating the conditions for improved social and biological resilience of ERWHS and plugging a critical gap among the complementary interventions already supported by building the local capacity of ERWHS communities, developing local biosecurity capacity and enhancing the Lake Tegano World Heritage Site Association’s capacity to manage and project their natural heritage.
Project objectives ?
- Increased understanding of climate change impacts at the EastRennell World HeritageSite (ERWHS) and developing local frameworks & governance for the LTWHSA and ERWHS communities, to strengthen local conditions for community resilience.
- Effective invasive species management, through control & biosecurity, as a Nature-based solution approach for restoring ecosystem & strengthening climate resilience at the ERWHS.
- Diversification of livelihoods to reduce dependency on natural based livelihoods affected by climate change, and increased project development capacity, financial management & grant development for the LTWHSA, to improve access to funding for climate change adaptation.
- Increased awareness, knowledge & application of effective IAS management at local, national & regional level recognized as an essential component of NBS approaches for climate change resilience.
Pasifika Peoples and Communities with high dependencies on limited natural resources, food security, livelihoods, and cultural traditions (medicinal plants and wild foods) are particularly vulnerable to major climatic events. Additional pressure on these natural resources add to (already) unsustainable environmental practices and other social disruptions including those associated with increased urban migration as people seek alternative income opportunities. Pacific Island resilience to climate change is compromised by IAS asthey alter the structure and composition of native and agricultural ecosystems, negatively impact food production, reduce opportunities for economic development through trade, and impose additional health burdens on island governments and communities.
The most significant impact of invasive species on island ecosystem is their cumulative, and often synergistic, negative effect on ecosystem resilience. The cumulative impact of this is often extinction of multiple species and “ecosystem collapse”. Socio-economic impacts include reduced security, reduced income generation opportunities from negative impacts on ecosystem services, pollution of water supplies and plant, consume and contaminate human food crops, animal and human disease transmission, among others. Evidence of the linkages between invasive species and climate change is substantial and growing. The Pacific Invasives Initiative has concluded that “A crucial part of Pacific island adaptation to climate change will be to reduce pressures on ecosystems, such as those caused by invasive species. Adaptation to climate change requires increased efforts to prevent new invasions and to eradicate or control existing invasives.”.
The prevention, control and eradication of IAS is recognised as a key strategy for adaptation to climate change in the Pacific. The eradication, suppression and prevention of invasive species protects and regenerates biodiversity and restores ecosystem services, while improving the livelihoods of local communities through better access to food and natural resources, improved health and wellbeing, and enhanced opportunities for economic development.