20 Feb 2018

New initiative to protect forests in Solomon Islands

2:10 pm on 20 February 2018

A new conservation initiative in Solomon Islands is hoping to show Malaitan villagers there are alternatives to logging.

Logging tracks run like scars across the face of a tropical rainforest on Malaita in Solomon Islands.

Logging tracks run like scars across the face of a tropical rainforest on Malaita in Solomon Islands. Photo: Photo supplied/Edgar Pollard - Patrick Pikacha - Felix Naitoro

Academics and conservation groups have set up the Ma'asina Greenbelt Initiative in the province's Are Are and Kwaio regions.

One of the project's founders, Edgar Pollard, said he was approached by community leaders while undertaking research on Malaita.

He said the communities wanted to develop without destroying their forests.

"There are a few people who want to break out from this mould of logging but it is really difficult I mean we are fighting against companies or people that use money. And we don't really have much money for our work. We get a little bit of support from different sources that fund environmental work but it is a real challenge," said Edgar Pollard.

Leaders of the Ma'asina Green Belt Initiative at the Wairaha River in Are Are, Malaita Province.

Leaders of the Ma'asina Green Belt Initiative at the Wairaha River in Are Are, Malaita Province. Photo: Supplied/Edgar Pollard - Patrick Pikacha - Felix Naitoro

Mr Pollard said the project's attracting a lot of interest from other communities around the island and it's hoped to expand it to the rest of Malaita.

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