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Recognising land and tenure rights isthe best way to protect Papua’s forest



Customary ceremoni in Miyah tribe of tambrauw, West Papua – IUCN

Jayapura, Jubi – The forests of Papua in Indonesia have been referred to as a last frontier, and those that live in and around them are instrumental in their future. Clarifying and codifying rights to tenure and management may be the key to keeping these forests standing.

Papua’s deforestation and forest degradation rates are below the national average, and these areas contain around half of Indonesia’s primary forests. This translates to the encouraging reality that Papua is largely preserving its forests, and indigenous communities play a big role in this paradigm. However, the tides of change are inevitable and recognising land and tenure rights while engaging communities in forest management is seen as the best way to maintain these amazing landscapes.

As in many countries, top-down planning in Indonesia has historically contributed to the marginalisation of customary communities from forest-related planning and negotiations. To help address this, Indonesia has set up forest management units that function as decentralised entities run by local governments. They are charged with the planning, management, investment, monitoring and evaluation of forests under their authority. Forest management units have been an effective framework for the promotion of the role of communities as the main actors in managing forest resources.

Working through these entities, IUCN partnered with The Samdhana Institute in Indonesia’s Papua and West Papua Provinces to enhance community land rights and encourage low emissions development plans. These REDD+ focused initiatives included customary boundary mapping, promotion of livelihood-enhancing options, advocacy for regulatory changes, locally-controlled forest management, and capacity building.

Ignasius Baru, Chairman of the tribal customs of Miyah, Tambrauw District said implementation sites represent different ecological areas found across Papua-Indonesia: Baliem Valley is a high-land ecosystem, 1,500 metres above sea level; Balik is a typical small island of Papua; and Tambrauw is a low land, coastal mountains landscape. Work has expanded to new forest and land development issues including the protection of local rights, and benefits for local peoples.

The Papua Project Coordinator for Samdhana, Yunus Yumte summarised the goals of the project as: 1) to foster clarification and recognition of indigenous peoples’ rights;2) to integrate how the communities perceive of the their living space and their preparedness to manage forests based on government planning; and 3) to develop indigenous people-based natural resources management within a legal system and with sustainable values.

“Customary boundary mapping is central to the entire project. When mapping is done collectively, it is a way to preserve local people’s rights, and manage collaboratively,” Yunus said.

He explained maps that identify customary boundaries and ownership of land are essential tools for land and resource planning, resolving disputes, and educating younger generations on community rights.

In Papua Province, communities now have customary boundary maps that cover almost two million hectares. In Tambrauw, a methodology for indicative customary boundary mapping has been tested and endorsed. This methodology is providing a new and rapid approach to mapping tribe and sub-tribe boundaries in order to accelerate legal recognition, and secure the rights of indigenous people.

“These customary boundary maps are catalysing discussions on strong claims of customary rights over the land and forests, how the community’s current activities affect the forest and what changes could be made, innovative approaches on conservation development to reduce emissions, and how protect and enhance carbon stocks,” Ignasius Baru said. (Victor Mambor/IUCN)


WWF promotes customary map in Tambrauw





Training participant on a mapping of primary sites of indigenous peoples in Tambraw District by WWF Indonesia Program Papua – Jubi / doc WWF.


Tambrauw, Jubi – WWF Indonesia Papua Program is mapping the indigenous peoples’ landmark with 1: 50,000 scale to support the preparation of the Spacial Plan of Tambrauw District, West Papua Province.

The two-day training conducted on 17 – 18 May 2018 in Sausapor is also aimed to build a partnership with the local government and other institutions who have a similar concern in mapping.

WWF Indonesia Program Coordinator Wika A. Rumbiak said that the mapping of primary sites in Tambraw District is a series of the process of socio-cultural and spatial mappings which conducted to show representative of indigenous people’s space pattern.

“Hopefully, this participatory mapping can accommodate the rights of the community in spatial planning, which stated in Article 2 of Government Regulation (PP) No. 69 of 1996,” said Wika, Saturday (19/5/2018).

The training result, said Wika, is a common understanding about developing a rational and measurable planning method. That is by applying participatory mapping and the development of expertise and knowledge, in processing spatial data with GIS (Geospatial Information System).

The training involves some related regional government offices including the Village and Community Development Office (Dinas Pemberdayaan Masyarakat and Kampung), the Environment Office, Regional Development and Planning Board, and the Tambrauw Forestry Office.

“The involvement of regional government offices in this training is to prepare the participatory mapping facilitators and to improve their knowledge on Geospatial Information System (GIS) for inputting spatial data entries,” said Wika. (*)

Reporter: Hans Kapisa

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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No notification, indigenous landowners are victimized




The Chairman of Tenure Right Special Committee, Nathaniel Paliting take a picture with indigenous landowners from Kaptel Sub-district – Jubi/Frans L Kobun

Jayapura, Jubi – Dozens of people from eight clans in Kaptel Sub-district, Merauke headed by the Sub-district Chief Wister Hutapea came to the local parliament office on Monday, 30 April 2018 to meet the Chairman of Tenure Right Special Committee Nathaniel Paliting and two representatives of PT Nufta.

A clan chief Lukas Samkakai revealed that since 2011, PT Nutfa opened the land for the industrial planting forest. However, the company never announced their land clearing activity to the eight clans of the landowners. People then complained the 1300 hectares of planned 65,000 hectares of land clearing by the company. As a result, the company agreed to meet the community and agreed to pay Rp 300 million compensation.

“We agreed with the price and the company gave us Rp 20 million in October 2017. Then, they promised to pay the rest of amount in the near There is no response or further follow up after this payment,” said Samkakai. After waiting for so long, they decided to come to the Merauke Regional Council Office.

The Chief of Kaptel Sub-district, Wister Hutapea admitted the company cleared the land of the two clans so far, but not yet the six clans’. As a sub-district chief, I absolutely cannot be silent; I have to support the indigenous landowners’ rights,” he said. Therefore, he expects the regional council of Merauke can accommodate people by forcing the company to pay such compensation. If not people will be complaining and it would affect the company’s operation.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of Tenure Right Special Committee, Nathaniel Paliting said the meeting between the council and representatives of eight clans and company representatives was a follow up of the visit of councillors to Kampung Boepe a few times ago.

“We facilitated this meeting to enable these representatives to sit together and talk. As a response, the two representatives of PT Nutfa said they have to ask further guidance from their director in Jakarta,” he said.

The council, further Paliting said, gives three days for the company to settle their response towards the people’s demand.

“I listened to the company’s talk that there is an agreement between the company and community about the land clearing in 2011,” he said.

Based on this evidence, the committee asked the company to provide the agreement for further review. “We don’t know about it in detail. They must present the contract upon us for taking immediate steps so that people from the eight clans would not be in the same situation anymore,” he said. (*)


Reporter: Frans Kobun

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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Papua’s endemic wood tree threatened for cooking fuel





Illustration –

Jayapura, Jubi– The population of xanthostemon novoguineensis, the endemic wood tree of Papua that locally known as ‘sowang’, nowadays has been threatened because of logging activities for cooking fuel.

“The endemic wood tree that grows in Jayapura City is continuing to extinct because of people,” said the Coordinator of the Port Numbay Greend Forum (FPPNG), Freedy Wanda to Jubi recently.

Further, he said even though an awareness campaign on the importance of sowang woods protection has done, it is not useful because indigenous people of Port Numbay are still not paying attention.

Although FPPNG has replanted some young trees, Wanda expects the Plantation and Nursery Agency could prepare as many seeds as possible.

Meanwhile, the village chief of Enggros, Orgenes Meraudje said local people are now facing difficulties with the fact that sowang woods are started to run out because people previously use it for home building.

“As now sowang woods are running out, people commonly use concretes for building their houses,” said Meraudje.

In the past, according to him, villagers had a traditional management of using sowang woods wisely; people should do a particular ritual before cutting trees, and the remarkably old trees would cut for housing. He further said houses made from the sowang woods could last for five to ten years because they are resistant to seawater and not easily broken or collapse.

Sowang wood tree mostly grows around the areas of the Mount Cycloop and Pasir Enam in Jayapura City. Unfortunately, it begins to extinct because of the needs of the household for cooking.

Sowang woods are usually for charcoals, and today because of the economic factor, those charcoals are sold to some restaurants in Jayapura City. Its well-known quality of resistance in burning process becomes the main reason why many restaurant managers prefer it for cooking fuel.

A woodcutter, Agus said he cut the sowang trees for producing charcoals. “I cut and burn it; then the charcoals are ready to sell,” he said. However, getting the sowang trees is considerably hard because they begin to extinct. So he must walk through to a very remote mountainous area. “Moving it down is also not easy because we have to go through a very poor pathway,” he said. (*)


Reporter: David Sobolim

Editor: Pipit Maizier


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