What Is Conservation Province?

Many of us may have known that the West Papuan Governor declared West Papua Province as a Conservation Province on 19 October 2015. More recently, the West Papua Local Government organized an event on 22 November 2016 to socialize the concept in national level.

What is a Conservation Province? Why Conservation Province? What are the benefits? How to achieve it? Let’s dive into the following Q&A.

What is Conservation Province?

A Conservation Province is an administrative area developed by the local government based on the following principles:

  • First, Environmental protection to sustain West Papuan customary communities and mankind in general;
  • Second, Biodiversity protection and conservation to ensure ecological balance and sustainable life processes for humans and other living beings as God’s creation;
  • Third, Prudent and sustainable natural resources management and utilization to ensure quality life for future generations; and
  • Fourth, Environmental restoration and management of degraded essential ecosystem.

Conservation province is a breakthrough policy initiative by the West Papua Provincial Government in a sustainable development. The policy will shape a governmental framework that supports economic and social development leading to improved welfare of customary communities, and at the same time, prevents environmental damage and conserves biodiversity.

What is the reason behind Conservation Province declaration?

Besides rich natural resources, West Papua Province is also blessed with extraordinary social and cultural wealth. As the region grows, the development in West Papua faces greater challenges. Mass capital flow and rapid industrialization from development pose an ominous threat to natural resources conservation, both on land and water, and even the rights of customary people. Fervent efforts are required to protect and preserve such natural resources and social and cultural wealth. It was a compelling enough reason for declaring a Conservation Province.

But why Conservation Province?

Conservation Province is not the only way, but a method and a chance to set out a sustainable development strategy that aims to balance economic, social, and environmental management altogether. The philosophy of conservation is to maintain the balance between human life and nature, where sustainable development accommodates all the aspects of life.

So, what are the benefits of Conservation Province?

Through conservation province, the local government, customary communities, and other stakeholders are expected to ensure biodiversity conservation and management in their area, both on land and water. With local wisdom, customary communities have proven themselves as a capable protector of nature, which is a guaranteed source of their wellbeing. West Papua’s natural resources will be managed prudently and sustainably for generations to come.

Are there any other greater benefits?

Conservation Province will also help the Indonesian government meet their commitment on a 29% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Moreover, Conservation Province will support the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals – (SDG) set by the United Nations. Kaimana, one of the districts in West Papua, is home to a substantial stretch of mangrove forests that can help address the world’s climate change problem.

Victor Nikijuluw, Marine Director of CI Indonesia, explained, “The carbon stock assessment done by CI Indonesia at the Arguni Bay in 2016 recorded an average carbon storage of 717 Mg C per hectare, or equivalent to 2,631 Mg CO2 per hectare. The carbon stored in this area equals to consuming 1,120,671 liters of gasoline, 34.8 tank trucks of fuel, and combusting 1,281,849 kg of coal.”

How is the progress and what is the next step?

The West Papuan Local Government and the West Papuan Local House of Representatives are scheduling a consultation meeting to discuss a draft Special Local Regulation (Perdasus) to the central government. “The Perdasus is targeted as soon as possible to be used as a legal basis in early 2017,” Nataniel D. Mandacan, West Papuan Regional Secretary, said.

What are the challenges?

Some of the challenges which will be encountered when turning West Papua into a Conservation Province are:

  • How the policy can make sure that the customary people’s rights over natural resources and traditional wealth are recognized and protected.
  • How the policy makers can consistently apply the sustainable development principles.
  • How the implementation of conservation province can ensure improved welfare for customary communities.


Author : Nita Yohana, Published : http://www.conservation.org



Ozon, Healthy Blue Earth and Papuan Youths

Sukarno once said “Give me ten young men, I will undoubtedly shake the world.” The phenomenal statement shows how influential young people are in changing the face of Indonesia. Papua, the second largest island on the planet, is known as the epicenter of the world’s biodiversity to researchers due to its high level of biodiversity.

West Papua is a province founded in 1999 in Papua Island. The province that looks like the head of a bird of paradise has important natural resources that need to be maintained to ensure a healthy blue earth. It has an abundance of wetlands consisting of estuaries, coral reefs, peats, swamps, mangroves, lagoons, bays, and coastal forests.

All these natural resources contribute to sustaining the source of life. However in reality, there are certain activities that lead to the deterioration of such resources, inevitably inciting local and global impacts. Within a few decades, climate change issues that affect a number sectors at once, such as the ever-expanding ozone hole, have become a hot topic worldwide.

Indonesia, as one of the countries having a part in creating the problem, has been making a lot of mitigation efforts to address it. West Papua, believed to be one of the last places in Indonesia that still maintain high biodiversity and is well-preserved, can be an alternative to support these efforts.

What is the Ozone Layer?

Ozone is a pale blue gas which is composed of three oxygen atoms (O3). Ozone is a colorless substance floating between 15 to 30 kilometers from the Earth’s surface—on the stratospheric clouds, to be exact. The main contributors that form the ozone layer are the sun, halogen, and low temperature. When the temperature drops below the threshold, clouds form in the stratosphere. Hologen, particularly pollutants such as chlorine and bromine, transforms into highly-reactive chemicals in the ozone. The ozone layer protects the Earth from ultraviolet radiation from the sun.

The Relationship between Ozone Layer and Global Warming

Global warming is a rise in the average temperature of the atmosphere, oceans, and Earth’s surface caused by increasing concentration of greenhouse gases. The biggest contributors to global warming are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and gases used for refrigerators and air conditioners (CFCs), also other gases known as greenhouse gases that envelop the earth and trap heat. Forest degradation, which impairs the forest’s capacity to store CO2, further aggravates this condition, as dying trees release more CO2 previously stored in their tissues into the atmosphere.

When we hear that the ozone hole on earth is getting wider, it means we are losing more ozone layer in the upper atmosphere, specifically in the stratosphere. Meanwhile, global warming produces heat that affects the lower atmosphere, specifically the troposphere, because of increasing concentration of heat-entrapping gases or what we know as greenhouse gases. The more heat trapped in the troposphere, the less heat escaping into space, which results in a colder stratosphere. The colder the stratosphere can cause the greater damage to the ozone layer. Therefore, we can conclude that global warming and the ozone layer are interconnected.

Saving the Peatlands, Fixing the Ozone Layer

In recent decades, human activities contribute to the further damage of ozone layer through the use of Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in household appliances, such as refrigerators, air conditioners, hair sprays, paint sprayers, and materials used in pesticides and insecticides. The CFC compound is known as Freon.

Today, environmental damage such as forest fires which generate Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is blamed to be one of the factors exacerbating the onset of the ozone hole. It is undeniable that the bleak years of dense smog from forest fires have become a scourge for Indonesia. Within the past five years, fires have become prevalent in the peatlands of Sumatra Island, and in 2015, forest fires have even spread to the island of Papua.

Reducing the use of gases that damage the ozone layer is a key to prevent the widespread damage to the ozone layer. One of the steps that can be taken is to save the forests. In West Papua, there are certain natural resources that can be used to save the ozone layer, one of which is peatlands.

The 8 million hectares of peatland in Papua serves as a natural carbon sink. On the other hand, if not administered properly, they can be a contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Carbon Dioxide in large number will be released into the atmosphere when these peatlands are converted. Of course, the impact of this conversion will not be as direct as damaging the ozone layer, but will happen gradually.

Conserving Peatlands are crucial to make sure carbon remains stored in them. Preserving peatlands in West Papua will contribute to reducing the damage to the ozone layer. It is important to note that wetlands, including peats, store 90% of the freshwater reserves, thus they can be regarded as a source of life.

The Ozone and Papuan Youths

Universities, as the center of knowledge and producer of the next generation in Papua, have a major role in generating scientific data through research, as well as being the basis for delivering balanced information to the public. Students, who are native Papuans, can act as “agents of change” if supported by knowledge they learn in universities, science seminars, as well as other informal activities.

In order to increase wider participation of young people to support the reduction of carbon emissions in West Papua, Conservation International came as a guest speaker at a Public Lecture on Wetlands held in the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, University of Papua in August 2016. On the occasion, Simon, a student in the Biology Department of University of Papua, asked the roles of students to support the sustainability of natural resources in West Papua.

The majority of West Papuans, especially those inhabiting wetlands, are unaware of the functions, benefits of and impacts on the ecosystems they are living in. It is important to note that some Papuans still depend their livelihoods on nature, so it suffices to say that nature is their source of life. Simon added that information disseminated through public lectures could provide more knowledge for the students about the link between natural resources and climate change, increasing carbon in the atmosphere, as well as local community’s participation in supporting the conservation of their environment.

In the context of natural resource sustainability, students as future leaders can be ambassadors for the environment, who will change the face of West Papua’s environment by contributing as a funnel to deliver information to the smallest units of society, which are families in villages and local communities at sub-districts and district levels.

In general, the younger generations are familiar with the function of wetlands in West Papua, but some key important information is not available. That should be disseminated to encourage natural resource sustainability and ensure Indonesia’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions. Through Public Lectures featuring guest speakers from different sectors, students can gain broader horizons to focus more on voicing the advantages and disadvantages of managing wetlands, as well as studying them through research and community service.

Peatlands in West Papua are still in good condition. They can be used as an alternative in the efforts to reduce carbon emissions in Indonesia, as long as managed properly. The better condition of a peatland will better contribute to preserving the ozone layer. Conservation International (CI) believes that people need nature to live and thrive. CI is aware that development is inevitable. However, preserving sustainable natural resources with proper management has now become a top priority in order to achieve a healthy blue earth.

Author : Nita Yohana, Published : http://www.conservation.org





Bameti dan Balobe : Tradisi Pemanfaatan Sumberdaya Laut yang Berkelanjutan



Waktu menunjukan 02.00 WIT,  ketika Ledrik Sawy (42 tahun) memompa lampu petromak di atas kole-kole (sejenis perahu tradisional Papua yang terbuat dari satu buah kayu utuh), dan secepat kilat Jonathan Wega (38 tahun) mengayuh pengayuh, untuk mengarahkan haluan menuju pulau tiga di depan kampung Wamesa di Kaimana, Papua Barat.

Dini hari ketika air laut surut, beberapa masyarakat turun ke laut balobe. Balobe adalah istilah yang digunakan masyarakat pesisir Papua untuk kegiatan mencari hasil laut dengan menggunakan alat penikam yang disebut dengan kalawai. Kalawai  merupakan sebuah tombak yang digunakan untuk menikam buruan atau mangsa yang terbuat dari kayu dengan ujungnya terdapat besi tajam bermata tiga. Aktivitas balobe dilakukan pada malam hari, terutama ketika bulan gelap. Biasanya, masyarakat balobe ikan, teripang, lobster, dan terkadang gurita. “Ketika bulan gelap, hewan laut terutama ikan tidak banyak melakukan perpindahan secara cepat” tutur Ledrik Sawy. Di saat itulah kesempatan untuk menikam ikan dengan bantuan penerangan lampu petromak.

Balobe sudah dilakukan sejak dahulu sebelum alat tangkap ikan berkembang. Sebenarnya, Balobe merupakan penangkapan yang ramah lingkungan, karena tidak merusak karang, ataupun menangkap berlebihan (over eksploitasi). “Balobe hanya untuk makan sehari-hari saja” ujar Jonathan Wega. Namun, jika terdapat kelebihan hasil tangkapan maka akan dijual untuk menambah perekonomian keluarga. Ditambahkannya, masyarakat kampung Wamesa hanya menikam ikan pada awalnya, akan tetapi dengan adanya permintaan pasar untuk hasil perikanan bernilai ekonomi tinggi seperti teripang dan lobster, maka masyarakat turut serta menambahkan hewan-hewan tersebut dalam daftar buruannya.



Masyarakat Papua pesisir memiliki tradisi turun ke pantai untuk Bameti. Bameti adalah kegiatan memungut kerang-kerangan (gleaning shellfish)  dan udang saat air laut surut “meti” dan pada saat bulan gelap. Bameti merupakan tradisi kuno perikanan tangkap yang hanya menggunakan tangkapan tangan (hand capture) yang masih dipraktekkan hingga waktu sekarang ini. Tradisi yang hadir dalam beradaptasi dengan karakteristik wilayah Papua pesisir yang memiliki kontur batimetri yang datar menjorok ke laut, awalnya  dilakukan ketika masyarakat belum mengenal alat tangkap ikan.

Bameti masih menjadi andalan masyarakat pesisir Papua, seperti yang dilakukan masyarakat Kaimana. Tradisi ini tidak membutuhkan keahlian khusus, serta peralatan penangkapan. Hanya butuh pengeruk atau benda pencungkil untuk hasil tangkapan kerang-kerangan, serta keret dan helai lidi pohon kelapa untuk hasil tangkapan udang dan lobster. Caranya cukup mudah, pasang karet pada ujung sapu lidi, dengan teknik menarik dan menembak diarahkan kepada hewan buruan, yaitu udang dan lobster. Biasanya Bameti hanya dilakukan masyarakat Papua untuk memenuhi kehidupan sehari-hari, atau dalam artian bukan mata pencaharian utama seperti nelayan yang keseluruhan hidupnya tergantung pada hasil laut. Bameti lebih pada aktivitas bersama keluarga di waktu luang, serta waktu berkumpul masyarakat kampung di lokasi yang sama. Terkadang, Bameti dilakukan masyarakat Papua untuk bersantai bersama keluarga besar dalam Marga yang sama, dimana hasil tangkapan akan dimasak, serta dikonsumsi di pinggir pantai.

Bameti 1

Alat Tangkap Kalawai


Kearifan Lokal dalam Pemanfaatan Sumberdaya Ikan

Kesadaran masyarakat untuk hidup selaras dengan alam sebenarnya sudah biasa dipraktekkan dari leluhur mereka. Perikanan non komersial atau perikanan subsisten merupakan wujud pengaturan dan perlindungan nyata prilaku hidup mereka. Bameti dan Balobe adalah tradisi yang mencerminkan prilaku ramah lingkungan sebagai bentuk budaya masyarakat pesisir Papua. Tidak banyak hasil tangkapan dari kedua metode ini, karena hanya dipakai untuk memenuhi kebutuhan rumah tangga masyarakat adat suku-suku di Kaimana.

Bameti dan Balobe adalah prilaku konservasionis  produk tempo dahulu, yang rmerupakan perwujudan kearifan lokal. Potret pengetahuan budaya (cultural knowledge) dalam kehidupan sehari-hari massyarakat pesisir Papua dalam pengelolaan dan pemanfaatan sumberdaya alam ini, nyatanya berdampak sangat signifikan terhadap ketersediaan pangan. Cultural knowledge dipergunakan dalam memahami lingkungan, serta mendorong terbentuknya prilaku budaya yang selaras, seimbang, bersinergi dengan alam.

Dalam Bameti dan Balobe, berlaku aturan tidak tertulis berupa ambil “manfaatkan” seperlunya dan secukupnya saja. Tindakan ini memastikan ketersediaan sumberdaya berkelanjutan bagi generasi penerus. Praktek Bameti dan Balobe merupakan bukti bagaimana masyarakat lokal memanfaatkan sumberdaya mereka dengan peralatan sederhana bahkan tradisional. Sehingga dapat dikatakan contoh pemanfaatan secara arif dan bijaksana yang tercermin dalam budaya kearifan lokal dalam sumberdaya ikan di Kaimana.

Foto 2

Teripang, Hasil Tangkapan Balobe dan Bameti


Kerang-kerangan, hasil dari Bameti


Pariwisata berbasiskan Kearifan Lokal Masyarakat Pesisir

Sektor pariwisata masih dalam  proses perkembangan di Kabupaten pemekaran tahun 2003 ini. Hal ini dapat dilihat dari pembenahan yang menunjang kenyaman wisatawan, seperti hotel, dan transportasi. Kaimana yang terletak di Selatan Pulau Papua, yang berhadapan langsung dengan Laut Aru ini, belum begitu banyak dikunjungi wisatawan. Tentu saja, transportasi yang cukup mahal menjadi salah satu alasannya. Untuk menuju Kaimana, penerbangan menggunakan pesawat ATR milik maskapai Wings merupakan satu-satunya yang mendarat untuk melayani jalur lintas Papua dan Maluku. Sisanya, hanya terdapat kapal Pelni yang berlabuh setiap dua minggu sekali.

Dalam kurun waktu lima tahun, sebahagian besar wisatawan yang berkunjung berasal dari luar negeri. Tujuan mereka lebih menfokuskan diri pada wisata menyelam di Teluk Triton, Selat Iris, dan Selat Bicari. Maklum saja, ketiga lokasi tersebut, terkenal dengan keindahan alam bawah airnya yang menakjubkan sehingga para peneliti kelautan dunia menjulukinnya sebagai “Kingdom of Fishes”.

Wajah pariwisata Kaimana perlahan-lahan berubah dalam kurun waktu dua tahun terakhir. Awalnya menggantungkan diri dari sektor keindahan alam bawah air, perlahan bangkit menunjukan jati diri masyarakat adat melalui budaya, salah satunya adalah atraksi kearifan lokal. Wisatawan asing yang tertarik akan budaya masyarakat pesisir Papua, berkeinginan masuk dan mempelajari bagaimana masyarakat lokal memanfaatkan sumberdaya alamnya. Dalam perjalanan ke Teluk Triton, saya bertemu dengan Mark (45 tahun) wisatawan yang berasal dari Inggris. Menurut Mark, aktivitas masyarakat pesisir Papua sangat menarik. Cara masyarakat lokal menghormatin dan menghargai alam itu sangat luar biasa. Mark yang berprofesi sebagai Konsultant Energi ini menambahkan, begitu tertarik untuk membaur dengan mama-mama Papua Bameti di sepanjang bibir pantai, yang kemudian mengolah hasil untuk dimakan bersama. Merasakan atmosfir lokal itu sesuatu yang beliau tidak bayangkan sebelumnya. “Ini merupakan tradisi masa lampau yang masih dipertahankan” ujar beliau menutup perbincangan kami sore ini.

Lain lagi dengan Jeny (30 tahun), wisatawan yang berasal dari Amerika tersebut begitu antusias ketika diajak untuk Balobe. “Saya sangat penasaran untuk melihat masyarakat lokal menangkap ikan di malam hari”, kata wanita yang berasal dari  Florida ini. Saya bertemu Jeny di pasar tradisional Kaimana, ketika ia berbincang dengan warga Kampung Wamesa. Kemudian, perbincangan kami berlanjut mengenai budaya masyarakat pesisir Kaimana dalam memanfaatkan sumberdaya alam, yang diakhiri ajakan dari Ledrik Sawy untuk berkunjung, serta ikut serta dengan beliau Balobe.

Menurut Jeny, turut serta Balobe bersama masyarakat lokal menjadi destinasi wisata unik. Belajar bagaimana masyarakat memperlakukan laut dengan tetap memperhatikan keberlanjutannya, sangat sarat dengan nilai-nilai konservasi yang banyak digaungkan konservasionis saat sekarang ini. Tidak semua orang dapat merasakan dan melihat bagaimana masyarakat lokal memperlakukan alam dengan bijaksana. Dengan adanya keterlibatan wisatawan dalam budaya kearifan lokal, tentu memberikan pandangan baru, bahkan ide-ide segar buat pengunjungnya dalam menghargai alam. Ini bukan tentang bagaimana cara pandang luar untuk melihat lebih dalam budaya masyarakat pesisir, namun lebih kepada bagaimana kita menyadari kita membutuhkan alam untuk hidup dan berkembang. Menutup perjalanan saya di awal tahun 2016 di Selatan Pulau Papua, saya menyadari bahwa “Manusia menjaga, alampun memberi”.