Shankar Aswani is an anthropologist with a PhD from the University of Hawai’I who has worked since 1992 on marine conservation and cultural history in the Roviana and Vonavona Lagoons and other parts of the Western Solomons. He is interested in interdisciplinary approached that combine marine science, anthropology and archaeology, and has organized a number of large projects promoting and studying the effects of marine protected areas under customary tenure. His recent research interests include the impacts of the 2007 earthquake and tsunami on coastal communities in the Western Solomons. Shankar Aswani speaks the Roviana language.
University of California at Santa Barbara, USA (Anthropology/Marine Studies)
Anthropology, human ecology, marine studies: Roviana, Vonavona
Current affiliation, academic qualifications and contact details
Shankar Aswani (a.k.a. Shankar Aswani Canela)
Department of Anthropology / Interdepartmental Graduate Program in Marine Science
University of California at Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-3210, USA
Tel: (805) 893-5285
Fax: (805) 893-8707
1997 University of Hawaii Ph.D., Anthropology
1992 University of Hawaii M.A., Anthropology
1988 University of Miami B.A., Marine Affairs/Anthropology
Shankar Aswani (Ph.D. 1997, U of Hawaii) is an Associate Professor of Anthropology and the Interdepartmental Graduate Program in Marine Sciences at the University of California in Santa Barbara. He is also a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Aswani has conducted research in the Western Solomons Islands since 1992 having spent over four years in the Roviana and Vonavona region, and more recently in the Vella Lavella, Rendova, and Marovo areas. His projects have focused on a diversity of subjects including property rights and common property resources, marine indigenous environmental knowledge, cultural ecology and human behavioural ecology of fishing, demography, ethnohistory, political ecology, economic anthropology, and applied anthropology. He also has developed a network of locally managed Marine Protected Areas (30 MPAs) and small-scale rural development projects in the Roviana, Vonavona, and Marovo Lagoons with funds provided by the MacArthur and Packard Foundations, CI, NSF, and Pew, among others. He heads a program named the Western Solomons Conservation Program (WSCP), which is still growing and expanding across the region. As a result of this effort, a Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation was awarded to Aswani in 2005, the first time in its 15-year history that the world’s premier award in marine conservation has been given to an anthropologist. He is also involved in archaeological projects in the Solomon Islands and more recently in a project sponsored by the National Geographic Society in the Marquesas, French Polynesia. Also, he developed a field school program on ecological anthropology and marine science in the Western Solomons. His extensive publications include articles in the journals Ambio, Aquatic Conservation, Asian Perspectives, Biological Conservation, Current Anthropology, Coastal Management, Coral Reefs, Environmental Conservation, Human Ecology, Human Organization, JPS, Science, and Ocean and Coastal Management among others. Recently Aswani and his research team have received a large NSF grant to study the effects of the 2007 Western Solomons Tsunami on coastal communities. The NSF Human and Social Dynamics (AOF) project is entitled “Understanding Socio-ecological Impacts and Responses to Large Scale Environmental Disturbance in the Western Solomon Islands” and involves scientists from various fields. For more details see his website at: http://www.anth.ucsb.edu/faculty/aswani
Lauer, M and S. Aswani. In press. Indigenous Ecological Knowledge as Situated Practice: Understanding Fishers’ Knowledge in the Western Solomon Islands. American Anthropologist
Aswani, S and S. Allen A. In press. Marquesan Coral Reef (French Polynesia) in Historical Context: An Integrated Socio-ecological Approach. Aquatic Conservation of Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems.
Aswani, S and I. Vaccaro. 2008. Lagoon Ecology and Social Strategies: Habitat Diversity and Ethnobiology. Human Ecology 36: DOI 10.1007/s10745-007-9159-9
Lauer, M and S. Aswani. 2008. Integrating Indigenous Ecological Knowledge and Multi-spectral Image Classification for Marine Habitat Mapping in Oceania. Ocean and Coastal Management 51: 495_504.
Barbier, E.B., E.W. Koch, B.R. Silliman, S.D. Hacker, E. Wolanski, J. Primavera, E.F. Granek, S. Polasky, S. Aswani, L. A. Cramer, D. M. Stoms, C.J. Kennedy, D. Bael, C.V. Kappel, G.M.E. Perillo and D. J. Reed. Z. 2008. Coastal ecosystem-based management with non-linear ecological functions and values. Science 319: 321_323
Aswani, S, S. Albert, A. Sabetian & T. Furusawa. 2007. Customary Management as Preventive and Adaptive Management for Protecting Coral Reefs in Oceania. Coral Reefs 26 (4): 1009-1021.
Aswani, S and T. Furusawa. 2007. Do MPAs Affect Human Health and Nutrition? A Comparison among Villages in Roviana, Solomon Islands. Coastal Management 35 (5): 545-565.
Cinner. J and S. Aswani. 2007. Integrating Customary Management into the Conservation of Coral Reef Fisheries in the Indo-Pacific. Biological Conservation 140 (3/4): 201_216.
Aswani, S. and M. Lauer. 2006. Benthic mapping using local aerial photo interpretation and resident taxa inventories for designing marine protected areas. Environmental Conservation 33 (3): 263_273.
Aswani, S. and M. Lauer. 2006. Incorporating fishermen’s local knowledge and behavior into Geographical Information Systems (GIS) for designing marine protected areas in Oceania. Human Organization 65 (1): 80_101.
Aswani, S. 2005. Customary sea tenure in Oceania as a case of rights-based fishery management: Does it work? Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries 15: 285_307.
Aswani, S., and P. Weiant. 2004. Scientific evaluation in women’s participatory management: monitoring marine invertebrate refugia in the Solomon Islands. Human Organization 63: 301_319.
Aswani, S., and R. Hamilton. 2004. Integrating indigenous ecological knowledge and customary sea tenure with marine and social science for conservation of bumphead parrotfish (Bolbometopon muricatum) in the Roviana Lagoon, Solomon Islands. Environmental Conservation 31 (1): 69_83.
Sheppard, P., R. Walter, and S. Aswani. 2004. Oral tradition and the creation of late prehistory in Roviana Lagoon, Solomon Islands. Special Issue: Archaeology and Anthropology in the Western Pacific: Essays in Honour of Jim Specht. Records of the Australian Museum 29: 123_132.
Aswani, S., and P. Sheppard. 2003. The archaeology and ethnohistory of exchange in pre-colonial and colonial Roviana: Gift, commodities, and inalienable possessions. Current Anthropology 44: s51_78.
Aswani, S. 2002. Assessing the effect of changing demographic and consumption patterns on sea tenure regimes in the Roviana Lagoon, Solomon Islands. Ambio 31: 272_284.
Aswani, S. 2000. Women, rural development and community-based resource management in the Roviana Lagoon, Solomon Islands: Establishing marine invertebrate refugia. Traditional Marine Resource Management and Knowledge Information Bulletin 12: 11_22.
Aswani, S. 2000. Changing identities: The ethnohistory of Roviana predatory headhunting. Journal of the Polynesian Society 109: 39_70.
Aswani, S. 2000. On headhunting in the Western Solomon Islands. In:Headhunting in the Western Solomon Islands, Shankar Aswani, (ed.). Journal of the Polynesian Society 109: 4_7.
Aswani, S. 1999. Common property models of sea tenure: A case study from Roviana and Vonavona Lagoons, New Georgia, Solomon Islands. Human Ecology 27 (3): 417_453.
Aswani, S., and M. Graves. 1998. The Tongan maritime expansion: A case in the evolutionary ecology of social complexity. Asian Perspectives 37 (1): 135_164.
Aswani, S. 1998. Patterns of marine harvest effort in SW New Georgia, Solomon Islands: Resource management or optimal foraging? Ocean and Coastal Management 40 (2/3): 207_235.
Articles/Book Chapters/Dissertation (non-peer or editor reviewed)
Aswani, S. 2008. Forms of leadership and violence in Malaita and in the New Georgia Group, Solomon Islands. In Exchange and Sacrifice. Pamela J. Stewart and Andrew Strathern, Eds., pp 171_193, Carolina Academic Press: Durham, North Carolina.
Weiant, P. and S. Aswani. 2006. Early Effects of a Community-based Marine Protected Areas on Participating Households’ Food Security Traditional Marine Resource Management and Knowledge Information Bulletin 19: 16_31.
Aswani, S., and R. Hamilton. 2004. The value of many small vs. few large marine protected areas in the Western Solomons. Traditional Marine Resource Management and Knowledge Information Bulletin 16: 3_14.
Aswani, S., and P. Weiant. 2003. Shellfish monitoring and women’s participatory management in Roviana, Solomon Islands. SPC Women in Fisheries Information Bulletin 12: 3_11
Sheppard, P., S. Aswani, R. Walter, and T. Nagaoka. 2002. Cultural sediment: The nature of a cultural landscape in Roviana Lagoon. In: Pacific Landscapes: Archaeological Approaches in Oceania. T. Ladefoged and M. Graves (eds.), pp. 37_61. Los Osos, CA: Easter Island Foundation.
Aswani, S. 1998. The use of optimal foraging theory to assess the fishing strategies of Pacific Island artisanal fishers: A methodological review. Traditional Marine Resource Management and Knowledge Information Bulletin 9: 21_26.
Aswani, S. 1997. Troubled waters in South-western New Georgia, Solomon Islands. Is codification of the commons a viable avenue for resource use regularisation? Traditional Marine Resource Management and Knowledge Information Bulletin. South Pacific Commission. Nouméa, New Caledonia 8: 2_16.
Aswani, S. 1997. Customary Sea Tenure and Artisanal Fishing in the Roviana and Vonavona Lagoons: Solomon Islands. The Evolutionary Ecology of Marine Resource Utilization. Unpublished University of Hawaii Ph.D. dissertation.
Aswani (1998) Marine harvest in New Georgia (article).pdf
Aswani (1999) Common property models of sea tenure in Roviana and Vonavona (article).pdf
Aswani and Ambio (2002) Changing demographic and consumption patterns and sea tenure (article).pdf
Aswani et al (2002) Cultural Sediment: The Nature of a Cultural Landscape in Roviana Lagoon, New Georgia, Solomon Islands (book chapter).pdf
Aswani and Sheppard (2003) Archaeology, ethnohistory and exchange in Roviana (article).pdf
Sheppard et al (2004) Oral tradition and the creation of late prehistory in Roviana (article).pdf
Aswani and Weiant (2004) Women and Marine management in Solomon Islands (article).pdf
Aswani and Hamilton (2004) Knowledge, sea tenure and social science (article).pdf
Aswani and Hamilton (2004) Marine protected areas in Western Solomon Islands (article).pdf
Aswani (2005) Customary sea tenure in Oceania (article).pdf
Aswani and Lauer (2006) Benthic mapping and aerial photo in designing marine protected areas (article).pdf
Aswani and Lauer (2006) Local knowledge and GIS for designing marine protected areas (article).pdf
Weiant and Aswani (2006) Community based marine protected area and food security (article).pdf
Aswani et al (2007) Customary management for protecting coral reefs in Oceania (article).pdf
Aswani and Furusawa (2007) Do marine protected areas affect human nutrition and health (article).pdf
Cinner and Aswani (2007) Integrating customary management into marine conservation (review).pdf
Aswani (2007) Forms of leadership and violence in Malaita and New Georgia (article).pdf
Barbier et al (2008) Coastal ecosystem management and nonlinear ecological functions and values
Aswani and Vaccaro (2008) Lagoon ecology and social strategies (article).pdf