At the 4th Society for Conservation Biology Oceania congress in Brisbane last July, Stacy Jupiter delivered a plenary talk entitled “Culture, kastom and conservation in Melanesia: what happens when worldviews collide?”. Stacy has now published a version of her talk as an essay in Pacific Conservation Biology:

In this essay, in order to provide guidance to improve the future effectiveness of research and conservation approaches in Melanesia, I look to the past to learn lessons from well meaning projects and interventions that did not work as intended.

Stacy draws upon decades of experience of working on conservation in the region (her own, and those of colleagues) and provides examples of initiatives that have been successful and those that have ultimately failed to achieve their objectives. This provides important food for thought for anyone looking to work in conservation, or undertake research in Melanesia. The take-home message from her essay is that conservation interventions that build on customary knowledge and practice, while integrating science in a culturally sensitive way, will be much more likely to be recognised as legitimate and implemented.


Stacy Jupiter is Director of the Wildlife Conservation Society Melanesia Program and also a member of the SCBO board.


Citation: Jupiter, S. (2017). Culture, kastom and conservation in Melanesia: what happens when worldviews collide? Pacific Conservation Biology, 1–7.