Change in Roviana Lagoon Coral Reef Ethnobiology

  • Shankar AswaniEmail author
  • Simon Albert
Part of the Ethnobiology book series (EBL)


Coral reefs are iconic for their beauty and biodiversity, and are of great socioeconomic and cultural importance for many coastal communities across the tropics. However, little is known about people’s local classification and their social and ecological relationship with these habitats. This chapter describes Roviana people’s changing ecological and social relationship with their coral reefs, which are increasingly being damaged by humans. First, we combined ecological and social data to describe people’s classification of local coral reefs in tandem with the productive practices conducted in these habitats. Second, we examined local perceptions and recognized effects of environmental and climatic changes on reefs over the last two decades. Finally, we measured changes in fishing activities and in the taxonomic systems (between 1995 and 2011) to evaluate if recent social and economic change has led to the erosion of marine indigenous ecological knowledge and associated practices. Studying people’s changing perceptions of their coral reefs is crucial to understand their ability to identify and adapt to environmental transformations. Simply, the way local people perceive the state of the environment is not only important in terms of changes in local epistemology but also has important implications for how resources are used and managed, and this information can be coupled with scientific one for a broader management strategy.


Adaptive capacity Indigenous ecological knowledge (IEK) Loss of knowledge Solomon Islands 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Anthropology and Department of Ichthyology and Fisheries Science (DIFS)Rhodes UniversityGrahamstownSouth Africa
  2. 2.School of Civil EngineeringThe University of QueenslandSt LuciaAustralia

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