Lauru Ridges to Reefs Protected Area Network (Lauru PAN)

Rich in natural resources: Lauru in the Solomon Islands. Copyright James Hardcastle.
Published: 21 August 2015
Last edited: 30 September 2020
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The Lauru PAN in Choiseul Province, Solomon Islands, is the first locally managed marine area (LMMA) network in Melanesia. It was established in a community-led process and based on a master conservation plan that is continuously updated. Good governance and conservation impacts are monitored. The partnership between TNC, LLCTC and Choiseul provincial government results in better protection of marine resources and legal security over access rights.


Scale of implementation
Coral reef
Marine and coastal ecosystems
Local actors
Protected and conserved areas governance
Other theme
management planning, sustainable livelihoods, traditional knowledge
Sea level rise
Storm surges
Tsunami/tidal wave
Ecosystem loss
Lack of public and decision maker’s awareness
Poor monitoring and enforcement
Poor governance and participation


Choiseul Province, Lauru, Solomon Islands


Lauru’s unique marine biodiversity, the highest in the Solomon Archipelago calls for preservation based on better knowledge of its biodiversity, opportunities and threats due to climate change, sea level rise and higher storm frequency. Locally managed marine area implementation needs systematic planning built on scientific and traditional knowledge, and formalized natural resource use rights.


Participating communities and Lauru Land Conference of Tribal Community (LLCTC).

How do the building blocks interact?

Local communities are drivers and have full ownership in the Lauru Ridges to reefs Protected Area Network (Lauru PAN). Thus, continued collaboration between all stakeholders (Building block 3) is the key for all activities. The solution is reached step-by-step. The conservation plan built on local and scientific knowledge (Building block 1) leads to the consultative establishment of protected area sites (Building block 2) given conservation and commitment values. Building block 2 lays the foundation for the implementation of the site and its management plan through the community management committee. Supported by trained community members, it is in charge with coordinated monitoring of the implementation (Building block 4). Support in developing alternative livelihoods (Building block 6) where feasible, is linked to establishing protected areas (Building block 2) and implementation of the network (Building block 5). The latter (Building block 5) ensures cross-learning, effective protection and inclusion of new sites into the network. Continuous engagement of the provincial government, LLTCC, and NGOs is crucial to the solution’s success.


Local communities as drivers have full ownership in the establishment of the Lauru Ridges to Reefs Protected Area Network. LLCTC is covered by requests further to the 15 sites already set up. Conservation priorities improves stakeholders bargaining power when negotiating with mining companies and the national government about future mining operations. Mapping results in better knowledge of natural, but also cultural resources. Stocks of commercial species, e.g. trochus snails, have noticeably recovered. Alternative livelihood options (ecotourism), have generated revenues.


“We’re honoured to be partnered with Lauru’s communities," says Willie Atu, The Nature Conservancy's Solomon Islands Program Manager. "We’re happy to be using our expertise in conservation planning to respond to their needs and their desire to adapt to the threats of climate change." The Choiseul Provincial government is working to sign the protected area network into law. And the Parama reef at the north-western tip of Choiseul, set aside as a marine protected area in 2006, has already seen a remarkable increase in the density of fish and other macro invertebrates. To ensure that results like these last, the Conservancy is looking to establish long-term sustainable financing options for the region. The best example from LLCTC’s work so far on building resilience is in their partnership support to BoeBoe, a small community in Choiseul Province. Its chief David Hakezama states, “We realised that, if we continue to carelessly harvest resources from the mangroves, sea and bush, we will fall short of them in the near future. So, we decided to start managing our resources more wisely and asked LLCTC for support.” As a first step Hakeszma’s community built a 3D model of their environment as a basis for a dynamic land-use plan. ‘Instead of using existing sophisticated maps as a basis we decided to build this 3D model ourselves – out of our memories and with the local knowledge we have. Almost everybody in our community participated and it took several days and nights to finish it.” This bottom-up approach takes into account the local know-how of the people and what might be even more important: It creates pride and ownership. To learn more about 3D modelling in BoeBoe watch the video ‘modelling the future’ ( Winfried Pitamana, the secondary school principal in BoeBoe, also took part in the participatory 3D modelling session. She confirms:”The model helps us to understand our environment better and plan for the future ourselves. For example, it helps us to understand what climate change and rising sea levels mean for our community. We have to realise that building new houses close to the coast is a waste of time and money and that we have to settle down further inland instead.”

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Jimmy Kereseka Lauru Land Conference of Tribal Community (LLCTA)

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Lauru Land Conference of Tribal Community (LLCTA)