The island of Lauru (Choiseul) in the western Solomon Islands is a high (up to 1,060 m) mixed volcanic and limestone uplifted island, located between 6.5° and 7.5° S latitude and 156.5° and 157.5° E longitude. The central part of the island is suggested for inclusion in the Pacific-Asia Biodiversity Transect (PABITRA) system. The proposed area consists of the north-central coast, Mount Barokasa (850 m), Mount Maetabe (1,060 m), and the primary watershed systems that drain these mountains and the central plateau between them. Some of the concerns and expectations of traditional land owners and the Solomon Islands government are considered. These play important roles in any research activity and will be central to the success or failure of the project. The Solomon Islands, Lauru, and the specific study area are briefly described with synopses of previous research and current, preliminary research activities. Preliminary species checklists are given for plants and vertebrates in the area. Initially we propose to establish two transects, each passing through two biomes suitable for comparisons with similar biomes in other PABITRA sites: the tropical montane cloud forest of Mount Maetabe (the highest point in the island), and the lowland rain forests, between 200 and 500 m in elevation to the southwest of Susuka at the base of Mount Barokasa. The two proposed transects will stretch through two different watersheds, one of which has had traditional agriculture practiced in the coastal strand area and the other of which has had traditional agriculture practiced in the lowland forest of midelevations. A research agenda is proposed that will help achieve key objectives of developing local research capacity and internal biodiversity management systems while conserving traditional knowledge.
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Vol. 59 • No. 2