Supporting local and traditional knowledge with science for adaptation to climate change: lessons learned from participatory three-dimensional modeling in BoeBoe, Solomon Islands
Coastal communities in the Coral Triangle are increasingly threatened by climate change. Sea-level rise (SLR) will result in biophysical and socioeconomic impacts that could increase the loss of livelihoods, cultural heritage and infrastructure. Effective adaptation requires a holistic approach that incorporates scientific knowledge together with local and traditional knowledge. Community-based adaptation built on local knowledge is of great value for environmental management, particularly when scientific data are lacking. This article reports a case study that integrated traditional and scientific knowledge using participatory three-dimensional modeling (P3DM) in BoeBoe village, Solomon Islands. P3DM is a process by which members of the local community build a physical terrain model and overlay it with the location of important resources such as protected areas or harvesting sites. Additionally, SLR inundation scenarios based on surveyed elevations were incorporated into a geographic information system (GIS), allowing for a real-time integration of science with local knowledge. Despite discrepancies in scales and accuracy, information from both the P3DM and GIS were complementary. The process, itself, provided a forum for discussion between many members of the village who would normally not be involved and highlighted the importance of community engagement when building capacity for adaptation to climate change.