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





Ancient Wall Painting in MaiMai Village, Kaimana, West Papua

Berbagai corak yang masih belum bisa diartikan pasti, terpajang laksana galleri alam di sepanjang  satu kilometer  di dinding tebing karang Kampung Maimai, Kaimana, Papua Barat. Torehan lukisan  merah menyala, tergurat jelas menandai  Jejak keberadaan suatu peradaban.

Lukisan dinding purba, begitu biasa masyarakat di daerah ini menyebutnya.  Terletak di tebing karang yang sukar dijangkau, tepatnya berada di ketinggian 10 meter diatas permukaan laut, memberi informasi akan usianya yang sangat panjang. Bisa saja, ketika peradaban ini ada, dan mulai menorehkan catatan kehidupan, struktur permukaan bumi tidak seperti yang terlihat hari ini. Tebing karang yang menjadi gallerinya, terangkat naik keatas, sehingga posisi lukisan ini jauh dari permukaan air. Sehingga untuk menikmatinya, harus puas hanya dari speedboat saja.

stone walls rise to the surface as a gallery of ancient painting

stone walls rise to the surface as a gallery of ancient painting



Lukisan dinding Goa biasanya dimulai pada zaman mezolitik awal. Warna merah pada lukisan purba ini, jika ditelaah ditandai pada Zaman epipaleolitik. Akan tetapi, ada beberapa corak berwarna kuning yang biasanya diukir pada zaman epipaleolitik akhir (awal mezolitik).  Namun, hingga saat ini masih dibutuhkan penelitian mendalam untuk mengetahui zaman pembuatannya.

Di Papua Barat, banyak terdapat lukisan dinding purba dengan corak yang hampir sama. Misalnya di Kabupaten Fak-Fak dan Raja Ampat.  Yang membedakannya, beberapa gambar tidak terdapat ditempat lain. Contohnya corak Burung Garuda, hanya terdapat di Lukisan dinding Purba di Kampung Maimai saja.  Hal ini bisa dihubungan dengan cerita orang tua dahulu, bahwa di Gunung Lobo, tidak jauh dari Maimai, terdapat Legenda Lambang Negara Indonesia itu, hidup dan mendiami gunung tersebut. Karena, setiap gambar yang terukir menjelaskan tentang kondisi daerah yang ditempati.

Di Kampung Maimai sendiri, ada beberapa corak, terlihat dengan jelas dan sudah dilakukan penelitian oleh Tim Gabungan dari Badan perbukalaan yang berkedudukan di Ternate. Corak yang paling banyak ditemukan adalah lukisan tangan. Lukisan tangan ini menggambarkan kekuasaan  suatu kelompok pada zaman itu terhadap tempat tersebut. Lukisan tangan tidak hanya menggambarkan tangan kiri saja, ada juga menggambarkan tangan kanan. Lukisan tangan ini, ada yang tergambar dengan utuh lima jari, ada juga yang tidak utuh lima jari.

Lizard,stone ax,gecko and many  abstract painting presented in this wall

Lizard,stone ax,gecko and many abstract painting presented in this wall

Di galeri dinding ini juga tergambar lukisan rahim wanita. Hal ini menggambarkan tentang kesuburan dan kemakmuran, layaknya seorang wanita yang dapat melahirkan anak.  Yang paling menarik adalah corak ikan Paus dan ikan kecil lainnya. Corak ikan Paus bisa dihubungkan dengan Paus Bryde’s, yang teridentifikasi melakukan migrasi di daerah ini. Sedangkan ikan kecil lainnya merujuk pada keberadaan ikan lumba-lumba, duyung dan ikan lainnya.  Corak ikan ini, bisa diartikan bahwa, Kaimana terletak di daerah Segitiga Terumbu Karang Dunia, sehingga kekayaan bawah airnya sangat beragam.

Masih banyak corak seperti, matahari,kadal, cecak, naga, kampak batu, lukisan abstrak dan lainnya. Sedangkan untuk penjabarannya, tentu saja membutuhkan penelitian dari para ahli dibidang tersebut.

Untuk menikmati keindahan lukisan dinding purba, dapat ditempuh kurang lebih 1 jam menggunakan speedboat menuju ke arah Telut Triton, tepatnya di Selat Namatota setelah kampung Maimai.

Lukisan dinding purba ini, menjadi ikon secara tidak langsung untuk kota Kaimana. Selain keindahan senjanya yang terukir manis di lirik lagu Senja di Kaimana dan keindahan alam bawah lautnya yang mempesona , tentu saja Lukisan Dinding Purba masih menjadi primadona.