Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Women at the Cutting Edge. Assessing the gendered impacts of industrial logging on well-being in Solomon Islands

How do women and men living in logging concessions in Solomon Islands experience the impacts of logging during and after logging operations?

2017 - 2020
Tessa Minter
EU Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant

This project assesses how and why industrial logging affects men and women differently. Using insights from an ethnographic case-study of the logging industry in Solomon Islands, combined with comparable cases from colleagues from across the globe, it also aims to develop an assessment tool that can help forestry professionals to work towards gender equitable logging practices.

Worldwide, China is the main importer and exporter of tropical hardwood. The majority of this wood presently comes from the Pacific, in particular from Papua New Guinea and neighboring Solomon Islands. In these two countries, the logging industry is notorious for its unsustainable character and its high rates of illegality in timber felling (for reports see here and here). 

Woman and child paddling towards log pond (East Malaita, Solomon Islands)

However, there has been less systematic attention to the social impacts of industrial logging, and especially for its impacts on gender-relations. While it is well-known that women generally benefit the least from the logging industry and that they are often adversely affected by its environmental and social impacts, the literature on this matter is fragmented. There is also little understanding of how and why individual women’s experiences may vary depending on their positions within society. Moreover, the importance of gender-equitable logging practices hardly receives attention from policy and industry. 

Using an ethnographic approach, this project intends to document and understand how women and men living in logging concessions in Solomon Islands experience the impacts of logging during and after logging operations. It takes into account both objective aspects of well-being, such as the impact of logging on income, shelter, and food-security; as well as subjective aspects of well-being, notably relationships with others and safety. The project generates data that will result in both peer-reviewed scientific papers, as well as outputs directed at a policy audience.

A barge loading logs (West Malaita, Solomon Islands)
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