he people who live on the isolated islands of the South Pacific have to be particularly careful in managing their natural resources: if these sources of food and shelter run out, they cannot simply move elsewhere.

For example, in the Solomon Islands, the people of Tikopia bury root vegetables and other foods to guard against poor harvests or other emergencies - like the category 5 cyclone that hit in 2003. They strictly monitor their population growth through traditional social systems that allow only the eldest son in each family to marry and have children. They stopped the practice of pig farming when they found that the animals were eating too many of their starchy food crops.

  The people of Tikopia are also among many island communities committed to conserving their fish. Traditional fishing rights ensure that areas along the coastlines are family owned: each family harvests and cares for their own section of the shore. Community taboos prevent people from removing small fish prematurely and ensure that they always throw a certain portion of the catch back into the sea. Fishing is prohibited in certain areas and during particular seasons. These restrictions are widely respected and based on the fishermen's intimate knowledge of when and where fish breed.  
      photo: UNEP/Topham  
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