The Marovo Lagoon of the Solomon Islands in the south‐west Pacific covers some 700 square kilometres and is fringed by a unique double chain of raised barrier reefs and by the high volcanic islands of the New Georgia group. Since the 1980s foreign companies have been exploiting the resources of the reefs and rainforests of Marovo, while the lagoon and its surrounding lands have simultaneously attained international status as a hotspot for biodiversity. Over the past decades the tribal groups of Marovo who own the lagoon and the land through customary law have engaged with the fishing and logging companies and international conservation agencies in a multitude of ways, generally aiming to retain the privileges of control over resources embodied in ancient but highly adaptable systems of land and marine tenure. Chiefs and other leaders in Marovo have also initiated and supported academic research in the area by social and natural scientists, with the aim of documenting resource use, management institutions and traditional environmental knowledge. In this article the author discusses recent interactions in the Marovo Lagoon between local development agendas and introduced agendas of biodiversity management, and argues for increased dialogue between local and scientific ways of knowing and classifying biodiversity. The arguments emerge that in this field of encounter between local and non‐local knowledge, there is at least as much potential for convergence as for conflict.
International Social Science Journal – Wiley
Published: Mar 1, 2006
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