ENVIRONMENT students from the Solomon Islands National University (SINU) were introduced to the latest findings of the first biological survey in the highland mountains of Guadalcanal.
More than 60 students doing Certificate in Environment Studies at the School of Natural Resources and Applied Sciences (SNRAS) gathered at the SWIMM compound in Lunga on Friday to hear from scientists about their two weeks’ expedition at Chupukama and surrounding areas in the uplands of Mount Popomanaseu.
The students were accompanied by the Dean of the SNRAS Dr Dusti Becker and lecturers Mary Tahu and Albert Kwatelae, Solomon Islands Community Conservation Partnership’s Partnership Coordinator.
They all expressed gratitude for an eye-opening field trip to see and hear first hand information from the scientists working on this expedition.
Local scientists MykneeSirikolo, Dr Patrick Pikacha and Edgar Pollard relayed their findings and experiences during the survey with help from their international and regional counterparts.
About 40 national, regional and international biodiversity experts carried out flora and fauna surveys on Chupukama in the hinterland of Central Guadalcanal since September 8.
This was the first ever biological survey of highlands of Mount Popomanaseu and the preliminary findings of the survey were presented at a National Press Event in Honiara yesterday.
These fortunate and enthusiastic SINU students had a life-time experience of seeing specimens and were inspired by what the scientists discovered at this remote location.
Director of Pacific Programs at the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation in the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) based in New York, Dr Christopher Filardi told the students that the survey was to document the flora and fauna of Mount Popomanaseu.
“The purpose of the expedition was to provide data on a poorly known biodiversity, support capacity of landowning groups in their quest to conserve the area and to communicate the cultural and biological biodiversity of the mountain.”
Popomanacheu is located within the mountain range locally known as the ‘TetenaHaiaja’ in the Central Highlands of Guadalcanal.
The Haiaja mountain complex comprises the high peaks from Makarakomburu to Popohanatunga and is owned by the traditional highland members of the Uluna-Sutahuri Tribe.
Together, Uluna-Sutahuri Tribe, the Solomon Islands Government, and the University of the South Pacific and their international partners share the goal of fostering Uluna-Sutahuri presence within Bobosogo lands and Tetena-Haiaja, the mountains and ridgelines that include some of the highest points in the south-western Pacific.
With support from the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, the planned surveys are intended to improve understanding of the unique biodiversity within the Bobosogo region and advance resource management and conservation of Tetena-Haiaja and adjacent Uluna-Sutahuri customary lands.