| || || Pollard, Edgar John Maeniuta|
| || || Evaluating tropical forest ecosystems : using herpetofauna and culture to determine conservation priority habitats on Malaita Island, Solomon Islands|
Author:Pollard, Edgar John Maeniuta
Institution: University of the South Pacific.
Subject: Rain forest ecology -- Solomon Islands -- Malaita Province, Rain forest conservation -- Solomon Islands -- Malaita Province
Call No.: Pac QK 938 .R34 P652 2013
Copyright:Under 10% of this thesis may be copied without the authors written permission
Abstract: Within the context of the global biodiversity crisis there is a need to identify conservation priority habitat types. This study aims to identify important forest habitats for conservation priority setting on the island of Malaita, Solomon Islands. To achieve this five different forest habitat types were sampled to quantify richness of biodiversity based on richness and abundance of frogs and lizards (herpetofauna) as biological indicators. In addition, interviews with local community members were conducted to gather associated local cultural knowledge on frogs, lizards and forest habitats. The study focused on unlogged coastal, unlogged lowland and unlogged upland forests, logged lowland forests and plantation teak forests, with the two latter having significant human influence resulting in reduced herpetofaunal richness. Prioritisation methods used to identify important forest habitat types were based on: 1) species richness and abundances, 2) ‘important’ (threatened, totem, rare and indicator) species presence, 3) cultural importance of the forest habitat and 4) the threatened status of the forest habitat. It was found that: 1) lowland forests contained the greatest species richness and the greatest number of important species, 2) lowland forests also had the highest cultural value based on locally described uses, and 3) coastal forests were under the greatest threat from anthropogenic activities. The overall results show the importance of biological sampling being coupled with cultural knowledge to improve our understanding of forest habitat value for conservation action.