Tag Archives: habitat destruction

IRONIC SURVIVAL: Surviving MIFEE

Alex Mahuze is a Malind tribesman and a sago farmer in Merauke. His clan has for generations lived in harmony with nature. The arrival of the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE) program has forced him to earn money through other means, which ironically harms the environment. He lost his lands and his culture is threatened, but Alex fights on.

Originally at EngageMediaengagemedia.org/​Members/​papuanvoicesmerauke/​videos/​ironic_survival/​view

Re-uploaded by westpapuamedia as courtesy to Papuan Voices Merauke and EngageMedia: EngageMedia cannot share effectively due to software restrictions in embedding iframes across many platforms. This is temporary fix to help get it out further.

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produced Sep 15, 2011
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* Sago, or Metroxylon sagu is a species of palm in the genus Metroxylon. It tolerates a wide variety of soils and may reach 30 meters in height. Several other species of the genus metroxylon, particularly metroxylon salomonense and metroxylon amicarum, are also used as sources of sago through Melanesia and Micronesia. In addition to its use as a food source, the leaves and spathe of the sago palm are used for construction materials and for thatching roofs, and the fibre can be made into rope.

* Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate – MIFEE – was announced on 18 February 2010 by the former Bupati of Merauke, J.G Gebze and officially launched on 11 August 2010 by the Minister of Agriculture, Siswono Yodohusodo on behalf of the Indonesian President. The project involves 36 investors, 13 of whom are already operating in the area. MIFEE covers an area of 2.5 million hectares and plans to bring into the area a work force of four million people.

PT Rajawali to establish sugar factory in Merauke

JUBI, 16 July 2011 PT Rajawali is planning to establish a sugar factory in two areas in Merauke, Malind district, in Kampung Kaligi and Kampung Domde. The government has already agreed to hand over 37,500 hectares for this purpose. The company is waiting for an agreement on the release of forestry land which is expected to be issued by the Director of Panology (?).

This is likely to happen in August this year. The project manager of PT Rajawali, Abdul Wahab, told JUBI that they were waiting for the AMDAL license. Speaking for the company, Abdul said they had carried out tests on 200 hectares and this will be followed by the hand over of 1,000 hectares. Abdul said that laboratory tests have not yet been conducted because the sugar cane must have grown for at least one year, but he said that, considering the results of the seedling tests, the prospects are very good indeed.

Tests in the nursery have indicated that from one hectare of seedlings, the sugar cane can cover an area of seven hectares. Asked about the work force, Abdul said that their priority would be to employ indigenous people. He said that for the initial tests, local people had been employed for planting the seeds and other jobs. He said that they were urging the company to commence its operations as soon as possible.

Pictures: Turquoise ‘dragon’ among 1,000 new species discovered in New Guinea

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Pictures: Turquoise ‘dragon’ among 1,000 new species discovered in New Guinea
mongabay.com
June 27, 2011

Varanus macraei © Lutz Obelgonner
Varanus macraei monitor lizard © Lutz Obelgonner

Scientists discovered more than 1,000 previously unknown species during a decade of research in New Guinea (slideshow), says a new report from WWF.

Final Frontier: Newly Discovered species of New Guinea (1998 – 2008) (PDF-4.7MB) is a tally of 10 years’ worth of discoveries by scientists working on the world’s second largest island.

While the majority of 1,060 species listed are plants and insects, the inventory includes 134 amphibians, 71 fish, 43 reptiles, 12 mammals, and 2 birds.

Among the most notable finds: a woolly giant rat, an endemic subspecies of the silky cuscus, a snub-fin dolphin, a turquoise and black ‘dragon’ or monitor lizard, and an 8-foot (2.5-m) river shark.

Final Frontier: Newly Discovered species of New Guinea (1998 – 2008)
Final Frontier: Newly Discovered species of New Guinea (1998 – 2008)
Spilocuscus wilsoni © Tim Flannery

Spilocuscus wilsoni cuscus, a type of marsupial © Tim Flannery
Litoria sauroni © Stephen Richards
Litoria sauroni tree frog © Stephen Richards
Chrysiptera cymatilis © Gerald R Allen

Chrysiptera cymatilis damselfish © Gerald R Allen

WWF released the report to showcase New Guinea’s biodiversity, which includes more than 800 species of birds and more than 25,000 species of vascular plants in New Guinea ranges. New Guinea’s rainforests — the third largest after the Amazon and the Congo — and its coral reefs are astoundingly rich, yet still poorly studied relative to other places in the tropics. The dearth of information is a concern because New Guinea, which covers less than 0.5 percent of the Earth’s landmass, but is thought to be home to 6–8 percent of the world’s species, is facing an onslaught of threats from logging, large-scale industrial agriculture, and mining.

“This report shows that New Guinea’s forests and rivers are among the richest and most biodiverse in the world,” said Neil Stronach, WWF Western Melanesia’s Program Representative, in a statement. “But it also shows us that unchecked human demand can push even the wealthiest environments to bankruptcy.”

Varanus macraei © Lutz Obelgonner
Click map to enlarge.

Ecosystems, especially forests, are threatened on both halves of New Guinea. On the western half — controlled by Indonesia — illegal logging is rampant and the government has granted, or is planning to grant, hundreds of thousands of hectares’ worth of forests for conversion to timber and oil palm plantations and large-scale rice and sugarcane operations. On the eastern part of the island, the Papua New Guinea government recently stripped communities of traditional land rights in favor of big business, especially foreign agricultural firms, which have been winning Special Agricultural and Business Leases (SABLs) to develop forest lands (a moratorium on SABLs was put in place last month). Meanwhile industrial logging has degraded large tracts of rainforest. Both sides of New Guinea have been affected by mining operations, which at times have caused pollution and exacerbated social conflict.

Chilatherina alleni © Gerald R Allen
Chilatherina alleni rainbowfish © Gerald R Allen
Melipotes carolae © Bruce Beehler

Melipotes carolae © Bruce BeehlerDelias durai © Henk van Mastrigt
Delias durai buterfly © Henk van Mastrigt

According to WWF, environmental degradation is already taking a toll in New Guinea, with the incidence of forest fires increasing, coastal erosion worsening, and depletion of forest resources for local use. Since 1972 a quarter of Papua New Guinea’s rainforests have been lost or degraded, while 99 of the island’s species are now listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, including 59 mammals, 34 birds and 6 frogs.

But WWF says there is still time to protect New Guinea’s flora, fauna, and incredible cultural richness (New Guinea is home to 15 percent of the world’s spoken languages). It highlights the potential to boost the capacity of local communities to use legal mechanisms to protect their lands and resources from expropriation and expresses optimism that the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) mechanism could generate revenue to support conservation activities (although the report fails to note the widespread corruption associated with early REDD efforts in Papua New Guinea). Final Frontier concludes by arguing that certification schemes for timber and agricultural commodities could help maintain New Guinea’s biodiversity in the future.

“It’s vital that New Guinea’s forests, rivers, lakes and seas are managed in a way that ensures they’ll continue to sustain economic and social development – and support the island’s fabulous wildlife,” states the report. “If we’re to safeguard this ‘final frontier’, it’ll require active partnerships between New Guinea’s communities and a wide range of stakeholders.”


New Guinea Slideshow

PT Medco refuses to pay compensation for Papuan land used for three years

[COMMENT: Here is a major company bemoaning its fate if required to pay compensation for Papuan land, without acknowledging that its operations have certainly led to the devastation of the livelihoods of the people whose land it has been using for three years. How does one weigh the demise of a company against the lives and livelihoods of indigenous Papuan people who are bereft of the land that is the very heart and soul of their physical and spiritual beings?  This is the first time we have read reports  about the absence of any compensation for Papuan people. It sums up a problem besetting Papuan people across the length and breadth of West Papua. TAPOL]JUBI, 21 April 2011

The inhabitants of Sanggase kampung, district  of Okaba, district of Merauke, have submitted a demand for compensation of sixty-five billion rupiahs from PT Medco for their operations in the kampung for the past three years, but they have had no response from the company.

In other words, the company has simply washed its hands and is not prepared to pay any compensation.

At a meeting held on Thursday this week with the district chief (bupati) of Merauke which was also attended by representatives of the local administration and military chiefs, as well as a number of local people, the representative of PT Medco in Papua Aradea Arifin,  said that paying compensation  of sixty-billion rupiahs  would mean that the company would not be able to function any more.

He said that the land being used by the company is 2,800 hectares. Should such a large amount of money be paid in a case like this?. ‘It simply means asking us to close down our company,’ he said. ‘So it is quite impossible for us to pay the community such a huge amount of money.’

He claimed that during the years of its operations in Kampung Boepe, the company had  given assistance to the local people in the form of building houses, building a church, provided motor cycles and so on which he claimed meant that the company  had acknowledged the problems confronted by the people there

Local people reject PT Nutfa Malind-Papua in Okaba

JUBI, 18 April 2011The inhabitants of Sanggase kampung, district of Okaba are strongly against the presence o f PT Nufta Malind-Papua who plan to set up a timber factory covering the land of several inhabitants.  They said the project had never been discussed with them as owners of the land.
Inhabitants of several other kampungs, Alette, Alaku, Makaling,Iwol, Dukmiro and Wambi. The head of the Dukmiro clan, Mathias Mahuze said the construction of the factory had never been discussed with them.
He said they have no objection in principle to such projects but the local people, owners of the land must first be consulted.
If they say nothing but only enter in communications with certain elements, then they are bound to encounter difficulties when they begin their operations.

‘We have never prohibited investors from entering any of these areas, including the district of Merauke, but it is far better to prepare the necessary documents for such operations. They need to meet face to face with the local communities for well organised discussions to avoid any problems emerging in the future.