Uluna-Sutahuri tribe creates regional partnership to carry out biological surveys within their customary lands

The Uluna-Sutahuri Tribe of Malango, Central Guadalcanal, has signed an historic agreement with the University of the South Pacific, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Solomon Islands Government to plan and implement the Bobosogo Biodiversity Surveys – a collaborative biological inventory of the unique plants and animals living within upland areas of Uluna-Sutahuri Customary Lands of Guadalcanal.

With support from CEPF, a month long biological survey has just begun, which aims to improve understanding of the unique biodiversity within the Bobosogo region and advance resource management and conservation of the Tetena-Haiaja mountains and adjacent Uluna-Sutahuri Customary Lands of Guadalcanal.

For decades, scientists and policymakers have identified Tetena-Haiaja as a top priority for some form of reserve stewarded by customary landholders with support from the Solomon Islands government. This island in the sky is part of the last great forested area in the tropical Pacific and has been a sacred point of power and origin for the Uluna-Sutahuri people.

National and international biodiversity experts are partnering with the Uluna-Sutahuri people to carry out the first biological survey of the unique plants and animals that thrive within Bobosogo and the greater Tetena-Haiaja lands and waters. The expedition will survey a broad spectrum of animals and plants, with access and guidance within customary lands provided via Uluna-Sutahuri expertise in and rights to the area.

This journey into the unknown is also meant to serve as a symbol of the enduring relationship between Solomon Islands people and these sacred mountains, and to use basic field science to empower local and regional voices in Pacific conservation and cultural survival.

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