Solomon Islands: Bio-diversity conservation should be actively encouraged to mitigate the effects of climate change but also prove an incentive for tourism.
The Solomon Islands is blessed with an abundance of tropical islands, beautiful sandy beaches, blue lagoons, rich and varied varieties of colourful fish, amazing coral, diving spots, a treasure house of WW11 relics, mountains and forests, rich culture and traditions that have endured for many centuries.
A country that invites visitors and tourists wanting exciting and adventurous holidays and a country that has direct air services to international destinations.
How much more would international tourists be encouraged to visit if they could see biodiversity conservation replace the areas of the country devastated by years of logging and the consequential loss of trees, plants, animals and micro-organisms that once were present?
Biodiversity conservation is highly regarded by tourism operators and tourism is proving to be a key source of foreign exchange for those countries and communities that have realized the benefits of supporting conservation.
Hopes to filling the gap of diminishing logging industry in the country and help mitigate climate change issues was discussed during the recent visit of His Royal Highness (HRH), The Prince of Wales, Prince Charles to the country.
It is understood the Forest Minister, the Hon. Ishmael Avui and Permanent Secretary, Dr Vaeno Vigulu met and briefly discussed with His Royal Highness the available opportunities to assist developing and transforming the forestry sector that currently does and depends on round log export into a more resilient and buoyant bio economy to address many contemporary economic, social and environmental issues.
Prior in-depth discussions and site visits were also held with HRH’s personal forester, Dr Geraint Richard, together with The European Forestry Institute Director Dr Marc Palahi.
The officials of the Forestry Office were said to have welcomed the fruitful discussions and later issued a statement saying they would champion biodiversity conservation moving forward.
With new opportunities that technology offers to support a new forest economy, bio-economy, as an alternative to mitigate climate change, will provide new jobs and deliver higher added value economic opportunities in the forest sector.
I would also add the promotion of tourism.
It is my understand that following the talks with His Royal Highness, Prince Charles, the Ministry of Forestry and Research will connect with relevant European structures and countries that have practiced bio-diversity conservation and have the necessary experiences and expertise to develop the right capacities and institutions to ensure sustainable management of forests in the Solomon Islands.