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Baines, Graham

Graham Baines has degrees in agricultural science and plant ecology, and a PhD in environmental physics. He worked at the University of the South Pacific in the 1970s, and during the 1980s he worked for eight years in Solomon Islands as an adviser in development planning and environmental management for the Western Province and the national government. Since then he has been an independent environmental consultant, with recent scholarly affiliations to the University of Bergen and the University of Queensland. His research interests include issues of resource management and cultural heritage. Following the 2007 earthquake and tsunami Graham Baines has been engaged in discussions with the leadership of Western Province, and with the Solomon Islands Government, about how to connect scholarship and research to the urgent practical challenges faced by the Western Solomons. With Cato Berg and Edvard Hviding, Graham Baines manages the Western Solomons Research Database.

Environment Pacific, Brisbane, Australia

Natural resource management; development planning; customary tenure;  governance; history: Marovo, Vella Lavella and Western Province in general.

Current affiliation, academic qualifications and contact details

Senior Associate Scholar, Bergen Pacific Studies Research Group, University of Bergen, Norway

Honorary Research Fellow, School of Social Science, University of Queensland, Australia

BAgrSci (Hons) University of Queensland
MSc (Plant Ecology) University of Saskatchewan, Canada
PhD (Environmental physics) University of Nottingham, UK

Telephone: +61 (0)7 3300 3304
Facsimile: +61 (0)7 3300 2693

Research and advisory work
Independent consultant, development assistance projects 1989 – present
Advisory roles, Solomon Islands Government 1981-1988
Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service 1978-1980
Advisory role, Fiji Government 1976-1978
Senior Lecturer, University of the South Pacific, 1970-1975
Nuffield Research Fellow, University of Nottingham, 1965-1968

While in various government advisory roles over a period of eight years’ residence in the Solomon Islands during the 1980s Graham Baines prepared a number of official reports that encompass the results of research undertaken as part of his work but are not attributable to him as author. For a time he was Environmental Management Adviser in the Ministry of Natural Resources in Honiara. For three and a half years his role was Development Planning Adviser to Western Province. It was at this time that he promoted the establishment of a Western Province Cultural Affairs Office.

Some of the anonymous reports he prepared, such as Western Province’s milestone “Strategy for Development, 1985” are accessible through this website.

Acting on behalf of Western Province, together with Vincent Vaguni, Sam Patavaqara and the late Chris Abe, in 1985 he established the Marovo Lagoon Resource Management Project which drew in researchers to address resource management needs identified by Marovo people. This project was an example of how research can be carried out on a partnership basis, in ways meaningful for the Solomon Islanders who host those researchers, while also satisfying academic needs.

His interests are very broad, based on his academic training in agricultural science, ecology and micrometerology, and are set in a social context in a way that has drawn him into the sphere of anthropology. He is particularly interested in management of natural resources, customary land and sea tenure, ethnology and traditional knowledge.  With Edvard Hviding he is preparing a report on western Solomons war canoes. He also hopes to resurrect an exercise in documentation of Vella Lavella kastom that he initiated jointly with Vella friends many years ago.


Selected publications

Baines, G.B.K. 1989. “Traditional resource management in the Melanesian South Pacific: a development dilemma.” In Berkes, F. (ed.) Common Property Resources: Ecology and Community-Based Sustainable Development. London, Belhaven Press.

Baines, G.B.K., & E. Hviding, 1993. “Traditional ecological knowledge for resource management in Marovo, Solomon Islands”, in Traditional Ecological Knowledge: Wisdom for Sustainable Development, N. Williams and G.B.K. Baines (eds.), 56-65. Canberra: Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies, Australian National University.

Baines, G.B.K. and N. Williams, 1993. “Partnerships in tradition and science: origins and intentions of the workshop”, in Traditional Ecological Knowledge: Wisdom for Sustainable Development, N. Williams and G.B.K. Baines (eds.), 1-6. Canberra: Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies, Australian National University.

Hviding, E. and Baines, G.B.K. (1994).  Community-based Fisheries Management, Tradition and the Challenges of Development in Marovo, Solomon Islands. Development and Change 25: 13 -39.


Western Solomons
Updated 12 January, 2011