More than seventy Solomon Islands National University (SINU) environmental science students from the School of Natural Resources and Applied Science (SNRAS), took a ten hour biodiversity field trip along the Bizi River at Vatukoula village in the West side of Honiara last week.
The practical provided an opportunity for student’s to apply the knowledge and understanding of theoretical subjects they’ve learned in class by observing terrestrial ecosystems on the Bizi River.
Identifying the classes and families of plants and animals, and their scientific names heightened their appreciation of our biodiversity and its complexity.
Amphibians, reptiles, arthropods, freshwater fish, birds, other detritivores species, and different layers of forest canopy were observed, along with estimating the height of magnificent big, old trees.
The students really enjoyed time out of lecture rooms to learn different types of terrestrial ecosystem and one of them is the rainforest.
Observing animals and plants occupying the layers of rainforest demonstrated ways wild plants and animals obtain their food and the roles each played in the food web.
Students also learnt more of the long history of connection and relationship between indigenous Solomon Islanders and the rainforest for subsistence and livelihood endowments and how in recent years the ecosystem that support biodiversity has been affected by extreme natural and human activities on Bizi River.
The April flash flood, landslides, farming, land clearing and logging are some of the threats to biodiversity identified during the trip.
The students’ deployment in the community creates an effective interaction with local landowners, enhancing student knowledge of traditional uses and management of biodiversity and local villager awareness of the importance of studying biodiversity.
In the long term these interactions can lead to community-based protection and management of natural resources, for sustainable livelihood and preservation of cultural heritage.
Our people are resilient and can adapt to global and regional Climate Change impacts affecting our country with understanding of measures that can be taken.
Community leaders and members are urged to continue working together and increasing their knowledge of managing the biodiversity of their land, as this land if of vast importance to their children and grandchildren.
The help and assistance of community leaders, elders, tour guides and rangers to the SINU students expedition is gratefully appreciated, as is the hospitality and lunch local women and young girls provided. Looking forward to continue work with you all.
By ALBERT KWATELAE