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They stole Merbau timber before oil palm plantations investment (part 1)

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Land clearing and timber logging activities in Keerom Regency, Papua Province – Dok. Jubi

Jayapura, Jubi – The largest land in Indonesia that has not been fully exploited is the forests and land of Papua.

Forest in Indonesia, from the study of Forest Wacht Indonesia in Sumatra and Borneo, has been used for plantation and transmigration, which largest areas are for oil palm plantations. Now the palm oil expansion is going to the eastern part of Indonesia, and Papua is the main target.

Indonesia pushed palm oil production by expanding the land used for plantations. No wonder that currently Indonesia has the largest oil palm plantation in the world. The total area are now reach is 16.1 million ha (Sawit Watch 2017) with income earned from this sector is over 200 Trillion rupiah.

In 2017 this sector has contributed more than 18 billion USD or equivalent to the oil and gas sector which in the same period also generated about 18 billion USD. The high revenue from this sector has an impact on the governments incessant permit for investors, regardless the impact of the expansion.

Sawit Watch notes that the serious and most frequent impacts of oil palm expansion in Indonesia today are endless land conflicts. The absence of transparency in the licensing process and absence of clear and measurable plans for the sector have resulted in an easy access of permit for oil palm plantations in Indonesia today.

“The consequence of this conflict is criminalization of communities who defend their land, open up conflicts between communities and companies protected by security forces,” said Maryo Saputra, Head of Sawit Watch Campaign in a joint press conference with Walhi Papua in Jayapura end of the year.

Maryo who is in charge of Monitoring and observation in Sawit Watch said, Sumatra or Kalimantan has no longer become priority for oil palm plantation development. They have moved to Eastern Indonesia: Maluku, Sulawesi, West Papua and Papua. The process of land transferring, from forest and community livelihood (customs or local) to oil palm plantations is currently taking place, and one of them is in Papua Province.

Data from Sawit Watch show that oil palm plantation area ​​ in Papua Province has reach 958,094.2 ha with 79 plantation companies. The magnitude of the current extent has been an alarm for possibility of expansion grows in the year to come.

The expansion of further oil palm plantations according to Maryo will continue to grow in Papua province, considering the area of ​​forest is still quite large. He warned the local government to be careful in giving permission.

Currently, the impact of oil palm plantations has been seen in Papua. Started from land conflicts; loss of indigenous people’s livelihoods; community criminalization by the company; and the environmental impact such as floods or forest and land fires. All have become visible evidence we can read in various media today.

Indigenous land grabbing has been experienced by Papuans since the era of Forest Concessions Right (HPH) by companies in the 1980s to land clearing for oil palm plantations.

Land grabbing

The secretary of Yeresiam Gua tribe in Nabire Papua, Robertino Hanebora said that timber and timber companies have long taken their land without negotiating with them.

“The sacred territory and sago hamlets belonging to the traditional community of Yeresiam were also taken by the company,” he said.

Yue Yance, one of the indigenous Yeresiam residents of Kampung Sima, in Nabire Regency said that Sima village is located on the edge of the beach, while oil palm plantation is only limited to the sago hamlet beside Sima.

“Before the oil palm plantation existed, it becomes paradise for birds, there were peacocks, white and black, birds of Taon Taon, many more,” he said as he pointed toward the oil palm plantation. But now everything is cleared and changed into oil palm plantations, birds fly away to look for forests and other places for shelter and foraging.

Sima in Nabire is only one ezample. Similar case also happens in Mimika Regency. Timika Bishop, Mgr. John Philip Saklil, Pr, has requested local governments to be firm against the operation of oil palm plantations. The bishop said palm oil company such as PT. Pusaka Agro Lestari (PAL), which has been operating in Mimika Regency, Papua since 2011, had threatens the lives of Kamoro people in Mimika Regency who live in lowland coastal areas.

“The impact of environmental damage has been quite large. This will be a serious threat to coastal residents,” the Bishop John told Jubi.

He also said the expansion of oil palm plantation area operated by PT. PAL is still continue, since they had pocketed permit of Right to Use (HGU) to open a land area of ​​38.000 hectare.

“It can deplete the forests and trees in Timika region. A big flood in the village of Miyoko and Aikawapuka was the proof;  PT. PAL should take responsibility for the disaster,” the bishop said.(to be continued)

Environment

West Papua province is number one ranked for 2017 Environmental Quality Index

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Oceanic view in West Papua Province – dok. wwf/cipto a gunawan

Jayapura, Jubi – West Papua Province is first ranked for the Environmental Quality Index (IKLH) in 2017 at national with a percentage of 85.69 per cent, followed by West Kalimantan and Papua Province with 81.47 per cent.

The Head of Economic Affairs at the Center for Strategic Policy of the Ministry of Forestry’s Environment (KLHK), Abdul Muin said the index, which is part of KLHK strategic plans throughout 2015 – 2019, of both Papua and West Papua Provinces is still above the national average target for 2018.

“There should be an effort to maintain and increase the environmental quality index for both provinces to create a healthy environment,” Muin said in Jayapura, Tuesday (09/18/2018).

Further, he said the island of Papua is one of the world’s central attention, especially the environmentalists, due to its global tourists’ destinations. Thus, the concept of sustainable development is one of the primary keys to improving the quality of the sustainable environment. “This includes in the national action plan,” he said.

Moreover, he said even though the environment is one of the primary support of the sustainable development in addition to the economic, social and governance pillars, at the national level the index of environmental quality still underrated because its value is still unstable (changes all the time).

“This should not be a concern of the ministry of environment, but all stakeholders, both legislative and executive bodies, need to be involved as well as mandated in Act 23 of 2014 concerning the regional governance,” he said.

Separately, the Assistant of People’s Economy and Welfare Noak Kapissa said Papua Provincial Government have a strong commitment to restricting the impact of the greenhouse gas emissions through coordination with government and non-government institutions at regional and international levels.

Moreover, he said, Papua Provincial Government, through the Governor’s Decree Number 105/2015, already formed the Papua Low Carbon Development Task Force (PLCD-TF), which actively involved in the climate change issues in the land of Papua. (*)

 

Reporter: Alex Loen

Editor: Pipiet Maizier 

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Arts & Culture

Taparu in Kamoro socioculture

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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

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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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