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The resurgence of community in sustainable natural resource management : a case study of The Solomon Islands

posted on 2017-12-06, 00:00 authored by Lawson SmithLawson Smith
While the community was discarded by early social theorists as an antiquated modernity-retarding social unit, as disenchantment with the impact of markets and governments on the environment set in, communities have been rehabilitated as a key if not pre-eminent social steering mechanism and actor for generating and implementing solutions in relation to sustainable development, especially pertaining to natural resource management. Indeed, by the early 1990s, consensus emerged following a long series of United Nations initiated conferences that sustainable development should be based on local level solutions derived from community initiatives. In essence, these reform initiatives argued for co-management - the sharing of natural resource management responsibilities between national and local governments, local communities and non-government organisations. This paper critically appraises the merits of community-based management (CBM) of natural resources with a case study of reform measures - proposed or undertaken - in the south pacific archipelago of Solomon Islands in the late 1990s. In this period, the Solomon Islands had many of the characteristics typical of a developing country with under-developed human resources, weak government and inept economic management, increasing reliaance on foreign aid, reliance on agriculture and natural resources for over one-half of its GDP and unsustainable logging practices that if unchecked, threatened to decimate commercial forests within 10-15 years. In brief, it is argued that 'community is not enough' and that robust institutions and empowered government agencies need to be developed in Solomon Islands to ensure that commercial forests are not only managed sustainably, but that neither local community groups nor the government are deprived of the income and taxation streams to which they are entitled from such natural resource exploitation.


Category 1 - Australian Competitive Grants (this includes ARC, NHMRC)



Roy KC

Parent Title

Twentieth century development : some relevant issues

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Nova Science

Place of Publication

New York, N.Y.

Open Access

  • No

Era Eligible

  • Yes

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