Coral reef monitoring in the Solomon Islands
Coral reef monitoring in the Solomon Islands
17 June 2011

A multidisciplinary team from The University of Queensland have produced a new book to help promote sustainability in the Solomon Islands.

Solomon Islands Marine Life was presented to Solomon Islands' Ministry of Education's Undersecretary Professional Aseri Yalangono by lead author Dr Simon Albert on behalf of UQ's Centre for Water Futures on June 3.

Dr Albert said the book contained essential information on the local marine and land environments and their ecological connections, in addition to practical monitoring and management methods.

"The book will be distributed to schools and rural communities across the country and will act as an educational tool to support the existing traditional resource management, ensuring the protection of the environment in Solomon Islands," Dr Albert said.

Solomon Islanders already possess a rich understanding of the environment and local species through traditional knowledge built up over generations.

The new resource aims to complement this knowledge with key scientific principles that cover new and evolving issues including water quality and over-harvesting.

The research behind the book was developed over seven years of working closely with traditional owners and resource managers in the Solomon Islands.

The book is one aspect of a multidisciplinary project led by Adjunct Professor James Udy and Dr Albert from the School of Civil Engineering, that combines research and educational outreach with involvement from Associate Professor Jennifer Corrin from the School of Law and Dr Ian Tibbetts from the School of Biological Sciences.

The project has already yielded several academic journal articles, books and documentaries, and has inspired conservation and development outcomes within Solomon Island communities.

UQ has led this project since 2004 after being approached by the MacArthur Foundation to assess the state of the Marovo Lagoon area after decades of unsustainable resource extraction.

The research team have been working with UNESCO and the Solomon Islands Government to build a foundation for the globally unique area to be listed as a World Heritage site.

Adjunct Professor Udy said the response the researchers received from the local community was extremely positive, with further strategies to protect marine and forestry areas in the pipeline.

"We are in the final three years of our funding now and are currently focussing on building the capacity of the local people to take over the project and continue the research, education and environmental management activities," Adjunct Professor Udy said.

"We have implemented an integrated approach to the environmental management of Marovo Lagoon that will support protection of the regions high biodiversity and allow for sustainable use of resources to support local communities."

Media: Adjunct Professor James Udy (07 3413 7965, or Madelene Flanagan (07 3365 8525,