Magazine article New Internationalist

Environmental Tussle

Magazine article New Internationalist

Environmental Tussle

Article excerpt

Traditional landowners from the island of Kolombangara are bringing a trailblazing legal case against the country's government and loggers to save their cloud forest, a rare ecosystem that covers the steep sides of the volcanic island.

The forest, which grows more than 400 metres above sea level, is a biodiverse wonderland where scientists have discovered several unique species. It is also full of cultural sites and is an important source of food and water for the island's 6,000 people.

The protracted High Court battle is important, explains Martha Manaka, a legal officer with the Solomon Islands Landowners' Advocacy and Legal Support Unit, because it could set a precedent for how companies secure the licences required for logging.

To date, the Kolombangara Island Biodiversity Conservation Association (KIBCA) has successfully stalled logging on parts of the island with a series of legal challenges grounded on the lack of an environmental impact assessment, among other things. …

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