The Commitment to Preserving Biodiversity in Papua

Get to Know Biodiversity in Papua

Papua Island is one of the five largest islands in the world. According to the Papua Ecology book (Indonesian Torch Library Foundation and Conservation International), the area of Papua is an island that supports the largest old tropical rainforest in the Asia Pacific. This really supports the existence of biodiversity in Papua. [1]

What Biodiversity in the Land of Papua Is Like

Seeing Biodiversity in Papua

In the far west, Papua is dominated by small mountain ranges, such as Bird’s Head, Wandamen, Fakfak, and Kumawa, and islands, such as Raja Ampat and Cenderawasih Bay. In many ways, Papua is similar to mainland Papua New Guinea (PNG), but the mountains are higher (reaching the snow line), and the marshes are wider (e.g. Mamberamo, Asmat). 

Natural forests, peatlands, and other “land of last resort” ecosystems cover most of Papua’s mainland and are home to many species that have not been identified. All parties must maintain their sustainability.

Among more than 17,000 islands, the land of Papua contributes to being a “home” for biodiversity. The Papua region also includes over a third of Indonesia’s remaining natural forests. According to the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), Papua has the largest tropical rainforest compared to other regions in Indonesia, including Sumatra and Kalimantan. [2]

Papua has a forest area of over 33 million hectares, which has given the country an extremely diversified biodiversity. These diverse habitats include coral reefs, estuaries, swamps, lakes, savanna areas, lowlands, mountains, and alpine regions. Biodiversity in Papua is also unique because it belongs to the eastern subdivision of the Indo-Malesian flora and fauna division, which is very rich in Australis. [3]

Papua’s biodiversity is half of Indonesia’s total biodiversity, specifically the endemic flora and fauna found only in the land of Papua. Papua has many flora and fauna that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. 

Flora and fauna in the lowlands of Papua are generally similar to those in Southeast Asia (specifically flora) and Australia (specifically fauna). Meanwhile, the flora and fauna in the highlands of Papua are unique and diverse due to their isolation.

Papua is one of the last spearheads of biodiversity in Indonesia. However, this mega-biodiversity home is inseparable from various challenges and threats, such as infrastructure development, expansion of plantation areas, mining, deforestation, wildlife poaching, and a lack of public understanding.

Conservation of Biodiversity Hotspots in West Papua

Conservation is Important for Biodiversity in Papua

Facing these challenges, the Provincial Governments of Papua and West Papua Province have taken action and committed to preserving Papua’s forests. 

  1. In 2015, West Papua became the world’s first conservation province.
  2. Meanwhile, Papua Province has drafted a roadmap titled Vision 2100. [4]
  3. Papua targets to maintain 90 percent forest cover throughout the province, in line with efforts to achieve low-carbon development goals. 
  4. In October 2018, the two provinces reaffirmed their commitment to mainstreaming sustainable development and accommodating 70 percent of the land area as Protected Areas, as stated in the Manokwari Declaration. The passion for building a sustainable Papuan earth has never subsided.[5]
  5. Two regulations followed up on the Manokwari Declaration in 2018. Both mandate the protection of at least 70 percent of the current forest cover and 50 percent of the sea and coastal area. As of 2021, there are already almost 67-69 percent of protected areas from only 36 percent previously. [6]
  6. West Papua also proposed the existence of a Provincial Strategic Area (KSP). It is a protected area for biodiversity and culture. West Papua will make this KSP a natural capital area that has local economic value. 

As an incentive for indigenous peoples and local governments to protect their environment, there are funding schemes such as transfers of ecological fiscal incentives. There are three schemes, namely:

  1. TANE (Ecology-Based National Budget Transfer)
  2. TAPE (Ecology-Based Provincial Budget Transfer)
  3. TAKE (Ecology-Based District Budget Transfer). 

In addition, in Papua, there are also 44 conservation areas consisting of 19 conservation areas in Papua Province, with an area of 4,069,486 hectares and 25 conservation areas in West Papua.

The hope is that with this conservation, biodiversity in Papua can continue to be maintained and sustainable.