Papua has an isolated location with a sparse population. Characteristics of the island include a stretch of pristine tropical forest which is the most vital in the Pacific. However, a surge in deforestation accompanied by plantation expansion signifies environmental change. It causes widespread forest destruction, which disrupts the survival of the people in West Papua.
Industrial Development in Papua
The easternmost region in Indonesia, Papua, is one of the areas with the most extensive tropical forests. In fact, the existence of forests in Papua is the only one remaining in the Pacific. However, this has changed and the development of industries in the Papua region. Modernization and increased sectors have contributed to the recent surge in deforestation rates.
In addition, the expansion of industrial oil palm plantations is a sign that change is in sight. The increasing developments in Papua in various sectors affect the environment increasingly. For this reason, the government must plan for change and prevent widespread forest destruction as the best solution.
In fact, when viewed in detail, indigenous peoples who live around tropical forests depend on food and livelihoods. When viewed from above, it shows that many forests are being deforested due to deforestation. Even though the industry is increasing, it has a bad influence on the environment and lifestyle of indigenous people in West Papua.
The Government’s Role in Preventing Forest Destruction
Given that forest destruction has significant data, the government has a program to track deforestation every month over the long term. Local government officials are responsible for wise spatial planning. This program can plan land use according to population growth, infrastructure development, and other services.
Available annual data show that many dynamics of forest loss and expansion of industrial oil palm concessions. Old tropical forests in Papua have shrunk by 2 percent. In other words, Papua has lost 600,000 hectares by 2017. Forest loss in Papua has increased drastically from 2000 and peaked in 2015 until 2016.
Then, in 2017 it was reported to have slightly decreased. Meanwhile, industrial palm plantations have increased almost four times the standard rate since 2000. This massive expansion shows that 30 percent of all forest loss since 2000 is due to massive land clearing for industrial plantations in West Papua.
Together with third parties, the government is trying to monitor deforestation on the island. The user confirmed the area and ownership of more than 460 palm oil mills in the surrounding region from the review derivatives. The data collected shows that the number of companies entering the forest increases yearly.
The government has a strict program to hold companies accountable for deforestation. The idea is that local and national governments should examine the deforestation footprint in concessions to review strict permits. As a result, the impact on the environment can be minimized even better.
Planning for Change in Papua
The presence of industrial forest plantations is not the only change that has damaged the original forest landscape in Papua. There are many reasons why forests can become targets for industrial damage. Logging for timber exports increases, mining destroys mangrove swamps, and people migrate to Papua to swell the urban population.
As cities develop, residents will demand more public services and better transportation. In developing the overall plan, local officials must adequately assess the project. The government in West Papua should start development by considering many possibilities not to damage the environment and forests on a large scale.
New roads under construction to connect the provinces to one another in Papua should also be given significant attention. Do not endanger the livelihoods of indigenous peoples who live in the forest. Indigenous people depend on forest products for food, housing materials, and fuel for daily needs.
For this reason, government officials must take appropriate steps to put the brakes on some of the unintended impacts on Papua’s forests. Finally, Papua was declared a conservation province in October 2015 to keep 70 percent of the province’s land protected. It is essential to preserve tropical forests from being further damaged.
Because there are many possibilities for Papua’s forests to continue to be damaged, the government uses an interactive map-based platform. The use of this platform can facilitate the use of well-managed land for accurate details. The database will show the deforestation that has occurred. In addition, this platform is essential for tracking commitments to zero-deforestation companies.
It is essential to look at forest loss and newly planted areas to make it easier to measure forest conversion to plantations. A visualization of deforestation over time will show in detail about plantations and development roads, where land has been burned, where recent restoration has been, and where the new ground has been planted in West Papua.
After analyzing forest damage, the command can measure the impact of these changes. If deforestation occurs near rivers, increased erosion will affect aquatic life. In addition, the effect on the environment will significantly affect downstream ecosystems. Therefore, local government officials must know the condition of the forest in order to find the best solution.