Environmental Preservation and Community Welfare Under Rural Development Projects: A Comparative Ethnoecological Study in Asia and Oceania

  • Ryutaro Ohtsuka
Conference paper


Based on our research in two Solomon Islands communities and two Li ethnic minority’s communities on Hainan Island, China, this chapter aims to clarify what factors are beneficial and which are nonbeneficial to environmental preservation and community welfare under rural development projects, focusing on basic human needs, eco-commons, indigenous risk avoidance, environmental justice, and consensus formation. From the changes in environment and community life, the four communities were dichotomized, owing not to the countries or the development projects, that is, commercial logging in Solomon Islands and cash-earning arboriculture and tourism in the Li territory, but to the pace of transition from subsistence economy to cash economy. The two communities, one each from Solomon Islands and the Li territory, have experienced rapid transition to accord with the development plans by their respective government but have faced increased interhousehold differences in income and other various unexpected consequences against environmental justice and basic human needs. In contrast, the remaining two slowly developing communities have innovated environmentally sound land-use strategies with their sense of eco-commons and indigenous risk avoidance, and these strategies have gradually increased their income. It is concluded that the coexistence of traditional subsistence activities and introduced cash-earning activities is necessary for guaranteeing and upgrading the inhabitants’ living conditions and beneficial to environmental sustainability and that the development agents, particularly the governments, are needed not to play paternalistic roles excessively but to contribute to capacity building of the local communities.


Solomon Island Tourism Development Environmental Justice Cash Income Community Welfare 


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Copyright information

© Springer Japan 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ryutaro Ohtsuka
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Human Ecology, School of International HealthThe University of TokyoTokyoJapan

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