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Kolombangara Island in Western Province, Solomon Islands includes one of the best examples of montane cloud forest in the insular Pacific and harbors extremely high rates of terrestrial biodiversity. The presence of endemic, rare and Endangered species such as the Papua Ebony tree has made this a national and global conservation hotspot. The project includes the preservation of cultural sites, which is important for maintaining the heritage and identity of Kolombangara Islanders. The intact forests above 400 meters also provide critical ecosystem services, such as clean water for the roughly 6,000 people presently living on the island.
Rainforest Trust and local partners Solomon Islands Community Conservation Partnership and Kolombangara Island Biodiversity Conservation Association (KIBCA) seek $375,156 to create the 17,412-acre Kolombangara Forest National Park in the Kolombangara upland forest to protect critically threatened biodiversity and ecosystems. This will also provide sustainable and equitable benefits for the communities on the island.
Kolombangara Island in Western Province, Solomon Islands
Papua Ebony (EN)
Montane cloud forest
Create the Kolombangara Forest National Park
Solomon Islands Community Conservation Partnership
Price Per Acre:
Total Carbon Storage (Mt CO2):
Of the 85 bird species in the New Georgia Islands, 82 are found on Kolombangara, including 16 endemic to the island.
This includes the Island Thrush, Island Leaf-warbler, Pacific Robin, Kolombangara White-eye and Kolombangara Leaf-warbler. Endemic to the Solomon Islands, the Vulnerable New Georgia Monkey-faced Bat was believed extinct on Kolombangara since the 1970s, but was recently observed in July 2017. Its International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red-List designation was only recently downgraded from Endangered to Vulnerable based on this change to its range. Kolombangara also hosts diverse and endemic reptiles and amphibians, as well as species suspected to be new to science.
The Kolombangara forests that are above 400 meters on customary lands are under constant threat from illegal logging incursions, with powerful political interests heavily invested in commercial timber extraction.
Community partners have organized well-publicised protests and filed court motions to block the extraction. Logging is still occuring, and community leaders are monitoring daily to ensure that these activities are kept away from cultural sites and below the 400 meter contour. Logging forests over 400 meters can lead to extreme soil damage, habitat destruction and permanent loss of biodiversity. Clearing Kolombangara’s upper forests could drastically increase sedimentation rates in rivers and affect downstream water quality. Logging is also highly likely to impact bird species that migrate for breeding or feeding between upland and lowland areas.
A large proportion of the island’s residents trace their ancestry back to one of five major tribal groups.
While there are roughly 6,000 people living on the island, none are thought to reside within the proposed protected area. A large proportion of the island’s residents trace their ancestry back to one of five major tribal groups. However, non-resident landowners continue to hold rights over the land and must consent to any protected area developments. KIBCA conducted community consultations in 2016, meeting with over 750 indigenous landowners with tribal links to 81 villages across the island and around the province. They also conducted a major consultation meeting for Kolombangara descendants in Honiara, the capital city of the Solomon Islands. The purpose of the consultations was to provide background information to communities and gauge their attitudes about both the concept and benefits of developing a national park. The findings show that 98 percent of responses were supportive of a protected area for Kolombangara’s upper forests.
Thanks to the generous support of our Board members and other supporters who cover all of our operating expenses, Rainforest Trust is able to allocate 100% of donations to conservation action. No board member receives financial benefit and our staff salaries are modest.
Rainforest Trust is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
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