These are not planned relocations led by governments or supported by international climate funds, but are relocations using their own limited resources.The customary land tenure (native title) system in Solomon Islands has provided a safety net for these displaced communities.This information was integrated with local traditional knowledge, radiocarbon dating of trees, sea-level records, and wave models.Wave energy appears to play an important role in the dramatic coastal erosion observed in Solomon Islands.“The sea has started to come inland, it forced us to move up to the hilltop and rebuild our village there away from the sea,” he told us.In addition to these village relocations, Taro, the capital of Choiseul Province, is set to become the first provincial capital in the world to relocate residents and services in response to the impact of sea-level rise.Interactions between sea-level rise, waves, and the large range of responses observed in Solomon Islands – from total island loss to relative stability – shows the importance of integrating local assessments with traditional knowledge when planning for sea-level rise and climate change.
In other cases, relocations have been more , with indivdual families resettling small inland hamlets over which they have customary ownership.
We can therefore see the current conditions in Solomon Islands as an insight into the future impacts of accelerated sea-level rise.
We studied the coastlines of 33 reef islands using aerial and satellite imagery from 1947-2015.
Sea-level rise, erosion and coastal flooding are some of the greatest challenges facing humanity from climate change.
Recently at least five reef islands in the remote Solomon Islands have been lost completely to sea-level rise and coastal erosion, and a further six islands have been severely eroded.