‘Our Happy Hour Became a Hungry Hour': Logging, Subsistence and Social Relations in Solomon Islands

Publication Name

International Forestry Review


Solomon Islands has relied on highly unsustainable industrial logging since the 1980s. While the development narrative around logging emphasizes its macro-economic importance, it structurally overlooks the impacts on local people's lives. Based on 200 qualitative interviews conducted in 25 villages and 14 logging operations in Malaita Province between 2016 and 2019, this paper demonstrates that the impacts of logging on subsistence and social relations are systemic rather than incidental. By making use of interview quotes, the paper gives voice to rural Solomon Islanders. The results show that the logging industry fails to generate lasting local benefits, while unsustainable logging practices undermine subsistence livelihoods, especially fisheries. Logging triggers conflict that long outlasts the operations themselves, causes sexual exploitation, facilitates excessive alcohol use and reinforces gender disparities by stru cturally excluding women from decision-making and benefit-sharing. This paper calls for a stronger focus on the social impacts of logging in forestry science, policy and practice.

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