The World Heritage-listed Lake Tegano in East Rennell is now under the danger list, says the United Nation Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) country representative, Christina Bakolo.
Ms Bakolo revealed this during a dialogue called by the Solomon Islands World Heritage in East Rennell or the Core Team, last Thursday in Honiara.
According to UNESCO, East Rennell is now marked as red colour because it is in danger.
“East Rennell is in danger of logging, invasive species (rats and possibly Giant African Snail in future), overexploitation of coconut crab and marine resources, climate change and Administration of the properties.
“East Rennell is an important site for the science of island biogeography. It is an important stepping stone for evolution of species in Western Pacific, especially birds,” she said.
Bakolo projected during the dialogue that East Rennell is a true natural laboratory for scientific study.
The area also has unmodified forest vegetation, habitat for species found on in East Rennell (birds & snails) including other endangered species, this includes snakes at Lake Tegano, the UNESCO country representative said.
Lake Tegano is a natural wonder of the world, with dramatic coral cliffs cradling a freshwater lake and mature rainforest blanketing about 99% of the island.
The lake was included in the UNESCO’s list of world heritage ‘in danger’ in 2013 by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)- the official world heritage advisory body on nature- after its ecology was threatened by logging activities as well as invasion by pests and overharvesting of resources by locals.
Lake Tegano is 29 kilometres long and 10 kilometres wide (maximum dimensions) with an area of 155 square kilometres.
The lake occupies 17.6% of the entire area of Rennell and is the largest body of enclosed water in the insular Pacific.
The central part of Lake Tegano forms a nearly unbroken plain with a depth rarely greater than 40 metres and a maximum depth of 43 metres.
The hard bottom is overlain by several metres of suspended, flocculent mud, which is apparently anaerobic.
By LACHLAN S. EDDIE