Various organizations like Conservation International and World Wildlife Fund have initiated programs to conserve important islands or regions throughout the archipelago. To complement these large scale projects and approaches, we have initiated grass-roots programs in the Makira Province. Our approach is four-fold.
First, we involve local, young community members in our research. This provides hands-on training, such as mist netting and diversity survey techniques, to local land stewards (see picture below).
George looks on, as Al trains his local collaborators on banding and taking morphological measurements.
Second, we give presentations to local schools and to local elders (see picture below). These presentations provide key information that forms the basis of successful long-term conservation initiatives. For instance, our work indicates that several island chains harbor unique endemic and newly-formed bird species, and we use this information to help local landowners realize that their flora and fauna are unique. We also provide them with a more global perspective, explicitly communicating the value of their resources to a global economy and the impacts of global warming to islands.