Dynamics of Sustainable Logging in West Papua

Reduced Forests are the Result of the Impact of Sustainable Logging in West Papua

The people of West Papua Province are already tied to nature, especially forests, because of their dependence on various natural resources. Even so, they must refrain from sustainable logging in West Papua as time progresses. Especially if it is a company or industry is doing the logging, then the logging is done on a large scale.

This certainly raises various reactions from the community or local to the central government. To see the phenomenon happening in West Papua more clearly, please see the explanation below!

The Phenomenon of Decreasing Forests in West Papua

Sustainable Logging in West Papua

In 2023 the people of West Papua now received a Social Forestry Decree (SK) from the President for 24,812 hectares. These forests are located in the Regencies of Manokwari, Kaimana, and Teluk Bintuni.[1] 

The Decree is a permit given to communities to manage forests in their respective regions. That way, local people can get the top forest products and have received legal protection.

Apart from the people who will get a lot of benefits, there is one other phenomenon regarding forests that is quite threatening. Currently, continuous logging is still ongoing, thus making the land less.

Those who are increasingly feeling the impact of sustainable logging are indigenous peoples. During efforts to reduce illegal logging, this action is continuing today.

The number of customary forests in several areas of West Papua has decreased significantly. For example, in Kaeerom District, more than 1000 km of forest clearing has occurred. The goals include building roads, oil palm plantations, and illegal gold mining sites.

In addition, there are also parties who “cheat” the residents with the modu to open oil palm land. Where the companies will sell the community’s timber after clearing the land. Many people are forced to do this because of demands for their daily needs and the sake of the cost of their children’s education.

Disruption of Sacred Sites of Indigenous Peoples

Disruption of Sacred Sites of Indigenous Peoples After the Existence of Sustainable Logging in West Papua

In addition to reduced land and trees, indigenous peoples must also accept other consequences of the occurring logging. One example is destroying a historical site called Sack of Fephrase or Lake of the Clouds.

The site has been damaged by the activities of one of the companies that cleared the way for logging.

Sites that have existed for generations must be destroyed because the company is negligent. In the end, this also makes the community fight and ask for accountability.

Not only destroying Kabung Fefrase, but the company’s activities also threaten the ecosystem and hydrological functions around the logged area. A real example is the change in river water to brown and less fish since the company started operating.

The Need for Regional Government and Central Government Cooperation

The Government Must Take Part in Addressing Sustainable Logging in West Papua

With the two contradictory phenomena above, decisive action from the regional and central governments is an essential factor. Both parties have faced various challenges in forest protection until now.

The threat of damage occurs because of the many large-scale businesses operating, such as mining, palm oil, and legal and illegal logging.

The government has taken several steps to ensure that 70% of the West Papua region’s commitment remains forest, namely:

  • Compile regional legal products following the Papua Special Autonomy Law Number 21 of 2001, especially in article 63, which regulates sustainable development. [2] 
  • Create development planning documents to maintain 80% of forests in Papua and 70% of West Papua.
  • Development with a custom-based approach
  • Meanwhile, regarding official regulations in West Papua, there is already a Provincial Regulation (Perdasi) Number 10 of 2019 concerning sustainable development in West Papua.

Looking at the phenomenon and efforts to deal with sustainable logging in West Papua, the support of all parties will have a significant impact so that reasonable goals are achieved.