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Keywords:

  • Community-based conservation;
  • coral reefs;
  • dynamic conservation planning;
  • Marxan;
  • MPA;
  • protected areas;
  • systematic conservation planning

Abstract

Human factors more than ecology dictate conservation opportunity and the subsequent success of implementation. This is particularly true in places such as the Solomon Islands where most terrestrial and coastal marine areas remain in community ownership. However, factors such as community support are not reliably predictable, nor easy to map, and therefore challenging to incorporate into systematic conservation plans. Here, we describe how the Lauru Land Conference of Tribal Communities and The Nature Conservancy have worked with the communities of Choiseul Province, Solomon Islands, to develop a conservation planning process that reconciles community-driven conservation opportunities, with a systematic and representation-based approach to prioritization. We suggest how sophisticated prioritization software can be used collaboratively in a community setting, to dynamically assess and guide conservation opportunities as they arise; a process of informed opportunism.