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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

WWF promotes customary map in Tambrauw

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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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Environment

No notification, indigenous landowners are victimized

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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

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Illustration – Pixabay.com

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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