Lagoon Ecology and Social Strategies: Habitat Diversity and Ethnobiology

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Abstract

This study describes the seascape ecology of the Roviana Lagoon in the Western Solomon Islands. Using a combination of ecological and ethnographic data, we analyze the dominant characteristics of the habitats represented in the area, the prevalent environmental phenomena, and the productive practices exerted in these habitats by the local inhabitants. The lagoon offers an ecological structure characterized by micro-patchiness and a productive system in which the members have a detailed knowledge of an extremely complex environment and a set of extractive practices that take advantage of this intimate knowledge to selectively use most of the niches provided by the ecological heterogeneity of the lagoon. The correlation of ecological structure and social use of a landscape is not just a descriptive endeavor. It is a fundamental step toward understanding human–environmental relations and developing integrative base resource maps for planning marine and terrestrial conservation in the Roviana Lagoon and elsewhere. More generally, the socioecological analysis of seascapes is of key importance for formulating ecosystem-based management plans.

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