Engaging Communities and Government in Biodiversity Conservation and Climate Adaptation in Papua New Guinea

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Climate Change Management, 2020, pp. 213 - 230
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© 2020, Springer Nature Switzerland AG. Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) mainland consists of 33 million hectares of forests. The third largest intact rainforest in the world, it contains about 7% of the world’s species, 2/3 of which are unique to PNG. PNG’s ecosystems face multiple and interdependent threats associated with economic development, population growth and a changing climate. Academic and policy analysis on environmental change in PNG is extensive, particularly associated with the minerals and energy extraction sector. To counterbalance the negative impacts of this sector on affected communities, much of the focus has been on devising compensation packages and formal regulatory mechanisms to increase ‘landowner’ participation. Less attention has been afforded to the development activities undertaken by communities (e.g. development of new roads, expansion of settlements, land clearance from fires and logging), which also impact on ecosystem services. PNG’s rural communities are eager for more support to identify existing threats to supplement their own processes for determining trade-offs of development particularly under a changing climate. This paper describes the use, in facilitated workshops, of participatory techniques to engage communities in managing ecosystem services and biodiversity conservation to inform the development of community-led adaptive strategies.
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