Villagers learn to use new mapping system

Solomon Star

A PARTICIPATORY 3-Dimensional Modeling (P3DM) workshop had just ended last week in Chivoko village, North West Choiseul Constituency.

This workshop was led by Catherine Siota of The Nature Conservancy, Solomon Islands field office and assisted by Jimmy Kereseka and Michael Zazu of Lauru Land Conference of Tribal Communities (LLCTC) and Thompson Miabule of Choiseul Provincial Fisheries.

The 60 participants range from students, community youths, chiefs and elders from Chivoko village, as well as Live and Learn community participants from Sasamunga Village.

P3DM is a Mapping tool, which integrates participatory resource mapping and spatial information to produce a stand-alone scaled relief model and have proved to be a user-friendly and relatively accurate research, planning and management tool in South East Asia and have proved to be successful there.

During the workshop, Chivoko villagers were hard at work constructing the participatory 3-dimensional model of their land and sea.

It spatially represented the Chivoko watershed; the surrounding rivers, land and coastal areas, and other important features demarcated were tambu areas, old places and the village infrastructures with the use of cardboards, glue, pins, paints and yarns.

The mapping exercise was tough but yet a rewarding one.

A youth exclaimed that through this mapping process they have known more about their land, the names of the places and their village boundaries that are unknown to them before.

Chief Kipplin and Ekan Velo have also highlighted in their speeches that they were glad that the young ones participated in the whole mapping process, so that they learn and know about their tribal land and it seems that even people with little know how have participated fully.

And they are also happy because it’s a step forward towards their watershed management project success.

A lot of young people haven’t actually set foot on those places, but can see and know their land boundaries and important cultural sites through the P3DM process.

Despite challenges of clear fell logging faced by the people of Chivoko over the past years, they have refused loggers into their land.

This mapping exercise will help them to clearly map out their resources and will bring them step by step to a collaborative watershed management plan that provided a pathway for sustainable forest development practices by the community.

Chivoko watershed in the Island of Choiseul forms part of the last remaining stands of intact forest in the Solomon Islands and the forested mountain ridge is the source of several streams and rivers, that run down to the coast, into the bay, and nurture a system of mangroves and inter-tidal lagoons that provided nutrients and protection for the near shore coral reefs.

The community also have an established marine conservation area in front of their village, where a certain important fish species of grouper come in thousands to breed there in this time of the year.

The Chivoko community is an example for the people in the Solomon Islands to follow in practicing conservation and management of their resources, 85% of Solomon Islanders are rural dwellers and such a practice is encouraged to sustain our resources for our future generations.

 By Catherine Siota and Jimmy Kereseka

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From http://www.iapad.org/applications/plup/solomon.htm - click to see more photos and information.

1:20,000 scale (2 x vertical exaggeration) Participatory 3D Model (P3DM) of Chivoko village in the Tavula ward, Choiseul Province, Solomon Islands. (June, 2009).

Note: The model measuring 1.2 m x 0.4 m (192 km2 on the ground) has been the 1st Participatory 3D Model constructed on the Solomon Islands.

The model has been done to serve a key negotiation tool for the Chivoko community to map out the watershed and coastal areas it depends on to address the challenges facing sustainable resource management and conservation.

A total of 60 representatives from the Chivoko community including youth, elders, women and men, students and chiefs; representatives from "Sasamunga Live and Learn", The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the "Lauru Land Conference of Tribal Communities" (LLCTC), and the Choiseul Provincial Fisheries  attended the exercise.

The initiative aims at securing the conservation of the Chivoko Watershed forests (approx 8000 ha) and place them legally beyond the reach of industrial logging ventures. The project will draw on national expertise to produce a collaborative watershed management plan which will provide guidance for sustainable forest development practices by a community cooperative.

P.S. This exercise is a follow-up to the regional P3DM training organised by CTA and WWF In Fiji in 2005. A number of delegates from NGOs and CBOs were trained in organising and conducting P3DM exercises. C. Siota attended the training and put acquired skills into practice in replicating the process inSolomon Islands.
The P3DM exercise was a success! The resources and watersheds were mapped and this project will move on to the next stage of implementing the sustainable milling of timbers from the forest with a sustainable management plan of use. This P3DM will be replicated in Sasamunga in Choiseul this year and SILMMA network members have shown interest in this mapping tool if they could be trained as well. This tool has indeed boost community confidence in interacting with foreign visitors!