Conservation Based on Local Wisdom Applied by The Kokoda Tribe in West Papua

Conservation Based on Local Wisdom Applied by The Kokoda Tribe in West Papua

Nature and humans have a relationship with each other that cannot be separated. Humans need nature to survive in their basic needs – water, energy, food, protection, etc. In return, humans also need to take good care of nature. It is the reason why the Kokoda tribe in West Papua implements conservation based on local wisdom. Here is the information.

Nature and Human Relations

Humans survive by meeting the basic needs of nature. Nature and humans have a strong relationship to support each other. This interaction causes a pearl of local wisdom to produce a positive interchange between the two. For example, the tribes of Papua are still dependent on forests. That is why the tribe must maintain the forest to remain sustainable.

In addition, there are also various kinds of local wisdom that impact nature conservation. For example, tribes in the interior forbid outsiders to enter sacred springs. Only traditional leaders and certain people can enter the spring to perform rituals. If viewed in detail, this step positively impacts the surrounding environment.

As is known, springs play a role in bringing water for the community’s needs. If many people enter the spring without regulations, pollution can occur. It is detrimental to the surrounding population, who depend on this water source for their livelihood. Knowing conservation-based local wisdom is one of the references for doing conservation in West Papua.

Kokoda Tribe Conservation

Conservation based on local wisdom is readily accepted by local communities. One of the tribes that implement this conservation system is the Kokoda tribe. This tribe has an extensive distribution, such as Sorong Regency, Fakfak Regency, and South Sorong. Many residents apply this concept as a way to preserve nature in Papua. Here is the detailed information!

1. Sasi Laut

Ancestors hand down sasi Laut culture to regulate marine harvests. This step is in the form of division of fishing areas in various periods. Villagers divide the fishing area with a particular access time. There are also settings based on different catch types for generating marine catches.

In the Kokoda tribe, the Sasi Laut culture is still a mandatory activity to find marine catches. The brand believes that if they run the ritual, their sea catch will increase because it is blessed by nature. Traditional leaders will welcome West Papua culture by the Kokoda tribe by performing ritual offerings at sea. The next day the whole community bathed in seawater with their fishing gear.

The fishers must bring fishing rods, fishing nets, fish spears, and others. Furthermore, the Sasi Laut place cannot be harvested for six months by all communities. Generally, this region is divided into two areas – north and south. When the northern part is undergoing Sasi Laut (cannot be harvested), the southern region is allowed to be harvested, and vice versa.

Some of the catches that can be harvested in the form of crabs, lobsters, and sea cucumbers can only be harvested for six months each year. Another regulation is to use traditional methods without damaging the ecosystem. Crab or lobster laying eggs are also not allowed to be harvested even outside the Sasi Laut period to maintain the creature.

This local wisdom makes the marine ecosystem more awake because there are restrictions on the specific marine resources. As a result, the ecosystem regeneration process in West Papua becomes faster. If the ecosystem regeneration process is left behind, it will be excessive exploitation of marine resources. The long-term impact will be the extinction of marine animal species.

2. Sacred Forest

In the eastern part of the Ugar Archipelago, several sacred forests must get permission from the traditional leader to enter them. The permit process is divided into two ritual stages – the submission of offerings and the tying of red ropes in the sacred forest. People believe the ritual is a brotherly bond between ancestors and humans.

People who violate the sacred forest enter without permission, then the person who violates it will get their sanctions. Often these sanctions come from ancestral spirits in the form of a trance and disappear without being found. The fear of sanctions has made local people and migrants be more careful when entering the sacred forest.

Indirectly, this sanction makes sacred forests a protected and sustainable area. Almost all the functions of nature reserves in conservation areas are maintained for their biodiversity. As a result, local communities play an active role in conservation at the ecosystem level theme. This conservation concept is more effective for local people to accept than nature reserves managed by the government.

3. Living Pharmacy

West Papua: From Local Tribes' Traditional Curing to Modern Health  Development

There are other local wisdoms for medicinal plants in West Papua. The Kokoda tribe in Ugas village has an area of about 25 m2 for the living pharmacy area. However, they have specific forests and regions cultivated by the community in live pharmacies. But, most of the medicinal plants in the forest are only taken from roots or stems for sustainability.

After further research, the use of natural products from the Kokoda Tribe has been carried out well. Local communities utilize local wisdom as a maximum conservation effort. Overall, the Kokoda tribe has three local pearls of wisdom: Sasi Laut, a sacred forest, and live pharmacy. Each local wisdom has a conservation value that has become a culture long ago.