Melanesia is often imagined as an exotic locale with unusual flora and fauna and mysterious indigenous people. The world that Western conservationists experience is different from the world Melanesians live in, in which the flora and fauna are a regular part of their lives, as are the harsh realities of limited healthcare, education and economic opportunity. This chapter discusses biodiversity, threats to biodiversity, and the practice of biodiversity conservation in Melanesia, highlighting differences in Western and Melanesian thought and practices regarding these topics. Knowledge of biodiversity is recognised by conservationists through formal ‘discovery’, and much of the biodiversity of Melanesia remains undiscovered by Western science. The process of species discovery and ranking of biodiversity areas is central to Western conservationists’ vision of the world. All Melanesian countries are parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Sciences(all)