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Four new palm oil permits issued across Papua region



High-density forest cover which dominates the four new palm oil concessions whose permits were issued in Papua and West Papua by Google Earth images (2010-2014) –

Jakarta, Jubi/ – Indonesian authorities have issued four new permits for palm oil expansion in the provinces of Papua and West Papua covering an area equivalent to more than 60,000 soccer fields – almost the size of Singapore – major parts of which are comprised of forest with high-density forest cover.

The issuance of these four new palm oil permits by the Indonesian Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) took place from late July to late November 2017, more than a year after President Joko Widodo announced a moratorium on palm oil expansion in mid-April 2016.

The technical process involved in the issuing of the permits was performed by the Ministry of the Environment and Forestry.

“These four new palm oil permits obtained approval in principle from the previous government administration in 2013-2014. The boundary arrangements for these ones are completed. This is an unavoidable legal process needed to proceed in a bureaucratic system in coordination with BKPM.”

Professor Sigit Hardwinarto, the Ministry’s new Director General of Forestry Planology and Environmental Planning, who took up his post in early November last year, explained this in a conversation with (Jan 31) at the ministry building.

He went on to say that, in the event that a legal basis underpinning the palm oil expansion moratorium is issued, concessions which consist of good forest cover – whether from new palm oil permits or old ones – would remain objects for evaluation.

Below are some examples taken from Google Earth images (2010-2014) of the high-density forest cover which dominates the four new palm oil concessions whose permits were issued in Papua and West Papua.

Meanwhile, time-series USGS Landsat 8 and ESA Sentinel-2 images confirm that the new palm oil concessions are still mostly made up of intact forests with their predominating high-density forest cover yet to change.

One of the four new palm oil permits in the Papua region is for a company under the Ganda group, one of the key suppliers to Wilmar International. In fact, part of this new concession has already been developed. As it turns out, another company under this group is also developing new palm oil plantations in Papua by clearing HCS forests.

Most permits on hold

It is worth noting, Professor Sigit continued, that – despite the issuing of these four new permits – as of now there are about 1.5 million hectares for which the processing of new permits – most notably for palm oil concessions – remains on hold by the ministry in the wake of the President’s announcement of the moratorium on palm oil expansion.

“Delaying almost all new permits is one of our strategies for controlling deforestation, while we are waiting for a legal basis supporting the moratorium on palm expansion,” the director general pointed out.

Three of the four new palm oil permits issued in the area are located in West Papua province and the majority of these concessions are composed of high carbon stock (HCS) forests. The following Google Earth images (2010-2014) depict a representation of the present forest cover situation in these three new concessions.

The director general underlined that a legal basis for the palm oil expansion moratorium is also very necessary to assess the extent to which palm oil companies have met their obligation to allocate 20% of their concessions to local communities.

“Current evaluations have shown that the fulfilment of this requirement is very low. This is one of the main concerns that will be seriously addressed,” he cautioned.

The clearing of these intact Papuan forests can only be prevented with the release of a legal basis for implementing the moratorium on palm oil expansion.

In addition, considering the presence of peat ecosystems, including peat protection zones, in parts of the newly-granted concessions, Indonesia’s new peat regulations could also prevent the clearing of these peat ecosystems for new palm oil expansion.(*)

Arts & Culture

Taparu in Kamoro socioculture




Kamoro women when sorting out sago caterpillars. – Jubi / Doc

Mimika, Jubi – Each clan in Kamoro has ‘taparu’ or a specific location as a place to find food sources when they encircle rivers and mangroves in the lowland estuary of Mimika District.

A Dutch anthropologist J Power states ‘taparu’ is a local terminology emphasizing the relations of land and its inhabitants. “There are also the names of surrounding neighborhoods taken from the ancestral names,” as written in a book “Taparu Fratri of Mimika-Kamoro ethnic groups in Hiripau Village, East Mimika District, Mimika Regency”, by Dessy Pola Usmany et al. from the Ministry Education and Culture Directorate General of Culture Papua Cultural Value Conservation Center, 2013.

‘Taparu’ itself is more related to groups who inhabit within this region or surrounding environment as Kamoro people always encircle the river and sago forest for catching fish or gathering food. Everyone knows their own ‘taparu’.

‘Taparu’ in Kamoro language means the land, while Sempan people call it ‘se iwake’. If someone wants to mark the land he passes in gathering food, he solely adds the prefix ‘we’ such as tumamero-we and efato-we in Omawka village.

Similarly, people in Nawaripi village also do the same. Their areas are including Tumukamiro-we, Viriao-we, and Iwiri-we. All of these names reflect the relationship between the land and inhabitants.

Meanwhile, like the majority of Kamoro people, Ojibwa people believe in the power of their late patrilineal clan that depicted in the symbols of animals. The anthropologists call these symbols with totems which mean a belief that embodies a symbolic representation of society.

Unfortunately, today taparu also face the severest challenges of sedimentation due to tailings of mining activity that cause the silting of river and discolouration of Mollusca habitat in the estuary of Mimika District. (*)


Reporter: Dominggus Mampioper

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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Avoiding conflicts of interest on indigenous land mapping




The finalization of the formation of task force team for indigenous areas mapping in Jayapura District. -Jubi/Doc

Jayapura, Jubi – The indigenous land mapping in Jayapura District is very important, but it should be noted that it might have a tendency of contestation or conflict of interest among communities.

According to an anthropologist at the University of Papua I Ngurah Suryawan, the claim of land has a long history of dynamic and inconsistent movements. It needs a thorough study of the form of the indigenous land mapping, as it is inherent in the rights of indigenous people.

“Speaking of this, the indigenous people’s land’s right is currently facing a strong onslaught of change. “People are busy talking about land rights, but then they just see how their land was taken by companies, their relatives or other clans of family,” said Ngurah on Thursday (9/6/2018).

Meanwhile, Jayapura Regent Mathius Awoitauw has also formed a task force to do mapping on the indigenous territories. The task force chaired the Regional Secretary of Jayapura District which members are including the Indigenous Peoples Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN), NGOs and indigenous communities.

“The task force was launched on Friday (5/9/2018) after many consultation and finalization among members and communities.” (*)


Reporter: Timoteus Marten

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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Two hectares of forest area burned in Wasur National Park




Forest fires in Wasur National Park area, Merauke Regency. – Jubi / Frans L Kobun

Merauke, Jubi – Eleven firefighters of the Firefighter Brigade of Forest and Land Control of Merauke was trying to put out of the fire on Wasur National Park area following the forest fires in the past few days.

Sukamto, the Head of Firefighter Brigade told reporters on Friday (7/9/2018) that the forest fires in Wasur National Park were identified yesterday so that his team went to the fire spot immediately.

He explained that approximately two hectares of forest area in Wasur National Park burned, although the firefighter team tried to blackouts of fire using both manual and semi-mechanics water pumps. “We don’t know yet what caused the fire. However, it is more likely the human’s factor,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sota Police Chief the Adjunct Police Commissionaire Ma’ruf states the police have provided an understanding to local communities in villages to encourage people not to burn the forest in dry season.

“If this habit still continues, it might give a negative impact on the forest ecosystems,” he said. (*)


Reporter: Frans L Kobun

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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