The Barana Nature Park visit.
Environmental Monitoring and Governance

4 April 2024, Honiara Solomon Islands – Stakeholders from Government ministries, provincial councils, NGOs and the private sector in the Solomon Islands experienced biodiversity conservation in action first-hand during animmersive excursion to Barana Nature Park recently.
Spanning over 300 hectares of intact lowland rainforest, Barana Nature Park showcases the rich natural heritage of the Solomon Islands. It provides critical habitat for endemic and threatened species like the iconic Guadalcanal monkey-faced bat. The park is managed jointly by the local landowning communities and The Nature Conservancy.

The field trip was on the final day of the 5-day environmental governance training by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

The field trip allowed participants to observe sustainable eco-tourism practices and community-based conservation initiatives in action.

"Visiting this stunning forest reserve reinforced the importance of protecting biodiversity through sustainable practices," said Ms Julia Aimaea, an Officer with the Ministry of Forestry. "As we apply environmental assessment tools, it's vital to truly understand the ground realities."

Solomon Islands site visit

Guided by local a community guide, participants trekked and were driven through the park to learn of the Barana community’s conservation initiatives and the challenges of curbing threats like illegal logging and encroachment. 

"This direct exposure enables environmental officers and decision-makers to appreciate the incredible natural assets we are tasked with preserving through robust governance processes," said Mr Puta Tofinga, SPREP's Environmental Assessment and Planning Officer.

The field experience complemented workshop sessions on utilising spatial data from GIS mapping to identify and safeguard sensitive ecological areas when evaluating development proposals through Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) processes.

By enhancing skills in enforcing the Solomon Islands' Environment Act and EIA regulations, SPREP's capacity building initiative has strengthened environmental guardianship and governance capabilities among key stakeholders responsible for the nation's unrivalled natural heritage.

The training workshop was supported through the Pacific BioScapes Programme, ACPMEAs3 project and EREPA project in partnership with the Solomon Island Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Environment.

Solomon Islands