Launched on 27 June, the Barana Nature and Heritage Park is a milestone for community-based conservation in Solomon Islands. Owned by the Barana Community, the park spans approximately 5,000 hectares of forest area in the upper catchment of the Mataniko river, one of the largest river catchments draining Honiara city. Management objectives include the conservation and rehabilitation of vulnerable ecosystems to safeguard their role in building social and economic resilience to climate change. The park includes an Environment and Resilience Resource Centre built using traditional designs. The area includes a number of World War II viewpoints and battle sites which makes it an important part of the heritage of greater Honiara.
Development of the park will include activities such as reforestation to reduce flood risks, replanting of stream or watershed areas to reduce soil erosion, sustainable land-use management activities, land-use mapping, development of eco-tourism activities and nature based income generation activities.
The development of the park formed part of SPREP’s assistance to Solomon Islands under its Pacific Ecosystem-based Adaptation to Climate Change (PEBACC) project. The project was selected following a comprehensive and participatory ‘ecosystem and socio-economic resilience analysis and mapping’ (ESRAM) study carried out for Honiara.
Speaking during the opening of the Environment and Resilience Resource Centre, Hon Dr Culwick Togamana, the Minister for Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology (MECDM) stated that ”while the Barana Nature and Heritage Park demonstrates the use of ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA), the project has gone several steps further by integrating revenue generation aspects critical to the long term sustainability of the park and livelihood of the community. This is not an easy undertaking and I congratulate you all for that innovation.”
The Environment and Resilience Resource Centre will play a central role in supporting the development of the Barana Nature and Heritage Park. Located at the park entrance and adjacent the Barana village, it is a platform for Toktok or Talanoa – a place to share ideas and make wise decisions for the collective good. It will also serve an education function, helping to create awareness about the importance of good environment practices and the role ecosystems and biodiversity play in building community resilience.
With support from the Solomon Islands government Climate Change Division the resource centre has been fully equipped with solar power. This exemplifies government’s commitment to forming partnerships and promoting climate change mitigation.
“SPREP is grateful and proud to be part of the development of the Barana Nature and Heritage Park and also the building of this Environment and Resilience Resource Centre,” said Mr Kosi Latu, Director General of SPREP who was present at the launch.
“The SPREP PEBACC project did not come here by choice. We came here because our initial baseline studies that included scientific assessments and robust stakeholder consultations informed us that the watersheds of Honiara city are important ecosystems in terms of climate resilience for Honiara city and that it was important therefore to work with local land-owning communities in protecting them.”
The park is managed by a park management committee comprising the Barana community. Development of the park started in 2017 in partnership with the Solomon Islands Government through MECDM, Ministry of Forests and the Guadalcanal provincial government.
PEBACC is part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI), supported by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety (BMU).
For further information please contact Mr Fred Pattison, the PEBACC Coordinator for Solomon Islands at [email protected]