Solomon Islands

When mining and logging companies come to villages asking for resource rights, how can communities make an informed decision without truly understanding all the impacts that these activities entail? Moira Dasipio, 55, lives and works in the Isabel Province of the Salomon Islands and is determined to give local populations access to more information about large-scale projects.
Solomon Islands in the western Pacific have been ravaged by nearly three years of civil conflict. The economy is in tatters, the main city Honiara is run by militant groups, and most education, health and public service functions are not working. In this climate the corruption ridden, destructive and often illegal industrial logging sector has continued unabated.
A new report on the social impacts of development on Solomon Islands’ communities has found village-based enterprises strengthen family and village life. The report, “Caught Between Two Worlds”, concluded that, in contrast, large-scale industrial enterprises such as logging and plantations often create tension, more work for women, and damages villagers’ way of life.
The Solomon Islands have been devastated by Australian and Asian logging companies; which have swept through the country's forests, leaving a trail of disintegrating communities, flattened and degraded forests and silted coral reefs from runoff of exposed fragile soils.
On a group of Melanesian islands in the South Pacific, a tragic plunder is taking place. Logging by mainly Malaysian companies has escalated in the last five years to more than 3 times the estimated sustainable yield. In other words the forests are being logged at more than three times faster than they are growing. In less than ten years all the productive lowland forests will be logged. The forests are rich tropical rainforests with thousands of unique plants and animals. As well, a diversity of cultures and people who customarily own and rely on the forests are under threat.
The Solomon Islands, an archipelago of Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean, are an independent state since 1978. The country's economy is based on agriculture, fisheries and forestry. Its territory has undergone a severe process of deforestation and consequent soil erosion in exposed areas. For example, in 1995 the government ordered the logging of all trees on Pavuvu island and their residents were relocated under protest. A relevant actor behind the scenes have been the forestry industry, concentrated in a few hands -mostly foreigners- and very influent over the national timber policy.