Indigenous communities in the Arfak Mountains conveyed several recommendation points to Timdu from the Director General of Planology of the Ministry of Forestry-RI at the Policy Dialogue on the Vision and Mission of the West Papua RTRWP in Manokwari, February 7-8 2014.

Based on the Public Consultation meeting on 6 November 2013 in Bogor organized by the Director General of Planology KEMENHUT-RI, where the Proposal of the West Papua Province RTRWP and the Recommendation of the Integrated Team (Timdu), concerning Changes in Allocation and Function of Regions Where in the Arfak Mountains region specifically in the Minyambouw Region there are Proposed Changes in the Function of the proposed Forest Area from Protected Forest (HL) to Another Area of ​​Use (APL). This can clearly threaten the existence of indigenous people who have been living with a system of customs such as “igya ser hanjob” (standing guarding the boundary).

In addition, changes in the designation and function of the proposed area will threaten the loss of habitat for endemic species of 110 species of mammals, 320 species of birds, 350 species of other endemic butterflies and plants. Whereas in the area there have been bird watching ecotourism management by indigenous peoples and customary forest management plans. TIMDU also provides an opportunity for indigenous peoples to provide input regarding the proposed revision of the West Papua Province Spatial Plan. For this reason, on 7-8 February 2014, the RTRWP Policy Dialogue was held in Manokwari by NGO cooperation including the Paradisea Foundation, JASOIL Tanah Papua, PUSAKA Foundation, Mnukwar Association for the support of RFN and CLUA.

In the case of the West Papua Province RTRWP Revision policy, it is known to the Provincial Government. West Papua proposes a revision of the RTRWP with changes to the forest area covering 1,836,327 hectares, consisting of: changes in designation covering 952,683 hectares and changes in functions covering 874,914 hectares and changes in APL (Other Use Areas) to a forest area of ​​8,730 hectares. Whereas the Integrated Team (Timdu) conducting research on the revised proposal recommended changes in designation to APL covering 263,045 ha, functional changes covering 334,071 ha and APL changes to a forest area of ​​813 ha. So that the forest area in West Papua Province covers an area of ​​10,257,693 ha to 9,995,461 ha.

Very difficult and very little specific information data is obtained about the basics and studies of proposed changes in functions and designation of forest areas as well as recommendations for Timdu Revision of the West Papua RTRWP. Some information data presented shows the extent of community participation and the lack of knowledge of the government and TIMDU about the existence of indigenous peoples and spaces in Papua, for example the proposed change in forest areas to APL in several villages in Manyambo District, Arfak Mountains Regency, for expansion of road construction. Even though this proposal could threaten damage to the function of the forest, disrupt the habitat of smart bird endemics and limit the Arfak community which is very dependent on their life from the local forest.

Based on that, Timdu from the Director General of Planology at the Ministry of Forestry-RI rejected his decision at the central level for several fundamental reasons, including the process of drafting the proposed revised RTRWP which did not involve even considering the space of indigenous communities in provincial spatial planning. Opportunities are also open for indigenous communities to submit inputs or proposals including rejecting the function of forest areas to APL around the area where they are located. For this reason, the indigenous community in the Arfak Mountains delivered a number of recommendation points to Timdu from the Director General of Planology at the Ministry of Forestry-RI at the Policy Dialogue on the Vision and Mission of the West Papua RTRWP in Manokwari, 7-8 February 2014.

Zeth Wonggor, an ecotourism activist in the Arfak Mountains stated that his side supports the results of Timdu’s study regarding the cancellation of the proposed change of designation from HL to APL in the Wariori area with a planned road infrastructure development that is very ineffective in terms of demography and topography. In addition, it is also very inefficient and also from the budget side because it will cost a lot of manufacturing and maintenance. The prafi-miyambouw-catubou road already exists so there is no need to make new roads from Wariori to Testega. If you want to reach these areas, you can just continue the existing road.

Furthermore, Hans Mandacan who is also a natural tourist guide in the Arfak Mountains explained that indigenous communities in his hometown have long enjoyed the proceeds from ecotourism, so his side strongly supports the results of Timdu’s study regarding the cancellation of proposed changes in designation from HL to APL in the Mubrani area. in terms of heavy topography, for example the sand volcano. The region should have been maintained instead of being converted into APL. In terms of demographics, there were no residential areas along the intended road.

As a NGO supporting to manage ecotourism in Pegungan Arfak, Esau Yaung, the director of the Paradisea Manokwari Foundation also expressed an attitude of rejecting APL from the Duabei village to Nimbiau (Minyambouw district). When viewed in terms of demography it does not affect the condition of the forest area along the road from Prafi to Miyambouw. For this reason the APL needs to be reviewed. This is reinforced by looking at the heavy topography in the area (from the villages of Duabei to Minyambouw). Even if it remains to be made APL, it does not have to be a broad APL. In addition, this will affect the hydrological cycle of several watersheds around the APL (prafi river, meni river, river atai, etc.), one of which will affect the planned development of hydropower because it will affect water discharge. Besides that, the surrounding area in the Minyambouw district is a smart bird ecotourism area and bird wing butterfly which is being developed by the local community as a tourism area so that if it is converted into APL it will affect the habitat of smart birds and bird wings.

The Arfak Mountains are located west of the City of Manokwari and based on the Minister of Agriculture Decree No.820 / Kpts / Um / II / 1982 the Arfak Mountains are designated as conservation areas with an area of ​​45,000 ha with the status of Nature Reserve. The Arfak Mountains Nature Reserve area is a mountainous and hillside forest area of ​​68,325 hectares. Indigenous people living in the Arfak Mountains region consist of 3 major tribes, namely Hatam, Moule and Soughb where the three tribes are very dependent on the forest because the forest provides everything they need. This can be seen from community activities ranging from farming, hunting and gathering. From this dependence, the forest is considered a “mother” for the Arfak community.

The concept of forest resource management according to the indigenous wisdom of indigenous peoples has long been developed according to the customs of indigenous peoples in the Arfak Mountains, known as “igya ser hanjob” which means “standing guarding the boundary”.

There are traditional rules or local wisdom that are used from generation to generation which are proven to be able to maintain the function of the forest area for the survival of the lives of the Arfak community. This local wisdom is known as Igya ser hanjob (in the language of Hatam / Moule) or Mastogow hanjob (in Soughb). Igya in hatam means standing, ser means keeping and hanjob means boundary. Literally Igya ser hanjob implies standing guarding the boundary but the boundary here is not only meaningful as an area, but broadly means that it covers all aspects of the life of the people of Arfak. The Igya ser hanjob context covers three areas including: Bahamti, Nimahamti and Susti.

Bahamti: This area is a core area or primary forest that has not experienced human interference. The characteristics of this region are large trees to moss vegetation. According to customary rules, there is a prohibition on the use of this area, including gardening, hunting and gathering. Likewise, taking wood is strictly prohibited. The extraction of bark for the walls of the house is permitted if in other regions they are no longer found. But all depends on permission from Andigpoy (Chief of Tribe). For the Arfak community, the Bahamti area is a restricted area. Violations of this rule are subject to sanctions in the form of fines and moral sanctions. Fines paid in the form of money, livestock and labor. While moral sanctions in the form of exclusion by the community.

Nimahamti: This area is characterized by very moist forests and lots of moss that grows. This area cannot be used as a garden because it is geographically difficult to reach and the temperature is cold. This condition causes not all plants to flourish. However, the nimahamti area is a limited utilization area and functions as a buffer zone. The community is allowed to use and manage this area to hunt and gather. People are allowed to take forest products in this area such as bark, rattan ropes and leaves. These materials are ingredients for making millipedes. The bark is used for the walls of the house, rattan ropes are used to tie the pillars of the house, and leaves for the roof of the house. People are also allowed to hunt and take traditional medicinal ingredients. But the activity of utilizing forest products remains limited and depends on permission from Andigpoy. Violations of the rules obtained sanctions decided by Nekei (Judge) through a customary trial.

Susti: This area is a free use and management area. Susti is characterized by secondary forests, namely forests that have previously been opened to make gardens but have been abandoned and trees that have become forests have been restored. All members of the Arfak community are free to use the susti area for their lives. Utilization of this area includes settlements, gardens / farms and other activities that aim to fulfill daily needs such as hunting, gathering and taking firewood. Hunting activities are generally not carried out in this area, because it is close to settlements, so hunted animals are rarely found, except wild boar that comes to disturb plants in the garden. The gathering activity is generally carried out by mothers and children. The ingredients that are mixed are ferns, mushrooms and medicines. Utilization of this area does not require special permission from Andigpoy because land ownership is controlled by clusters or keret.

Regarding its natural potential, don’t ask again. Zeth Wonggor, the bird tour guide in the Policy Dialogue on the West Papua RTRWP in Manokwari, explained that the Arfak Mountains Region has high biodiversity potential, both flora and fauna. According to the type of plant, the Arfak Mountains Nature Reserve is a heterogeneous forest type. The fauna species here consist of 110 species of mammals, including marsupials, tree cuscus, oposum, hook-tailed cuscus, tree kangaroos, bandikuts, marsupial mice, long snout porcupines, and 320 species of birds, including bower birds (Amblyornis innocartus), birds of paradise (Paradisea spp), parrots and parrots also have endemic species of Arfak, namely Astrapia nigra and Parotia sefilata. There are also 350 types of butterflies.

Hans Mandacan also added that the Arfak Mountains itself is the center of the spread of butterfly species of Arfak endemic birds, including protected species namely Ornithoptera Rothschildi, Ornithoptera paradise crysanthemum, Ornithoptera paradisea arfakensis, Ornithoptera goliath samson, Ornithoptera tithonus misresiana, Ornithoptera priamus poseidon , Troides oblongomaculatus. The types of flora that grow include ironwood (Intsia bijuga), milk wood (Astonia sp), binuang wood, matoa wood (Pometia sp), nyatoh wood (Palaquium sp), areca nut (Areca cateccu), betel nut, Macaranga sp, red fruit (Pandanus conoideus). This type of flora is used by the community for housing materials, gardening equipment, hunting equipment, household appliances, medicines and for consumption.

The flora and fauna found in this region have regional names (local) which are different according to the language. These types of flora have also been cultivated such as gedi (Abelmochus manihot), vegetable candles, taro (Celocasia sp), petatas (Ipomoea batatas), itchy leaves (Laportea spp) and fruit plants such as bananas, oranges, rambutans, durians, mangoes , papaya, guava, guava, avocado, and vegetables such as kale, spinach, long beans, mustard greens, cucumbers, chili and tomatoes.

In the Arfak Mountains region there are also springs that make up the rivers that flow on the mainland Prafi. These rivers include; S. Prafi, S.Utai, S.Meni, and S.Masni. The existence of these rivers is very helpful for the activities of the people in the plains of Prafi and Masni. For example, the Prafi river flow, aside from being used to irrigate rice fields, is also used as a power plant.

Not only that, there are still many things that underlie the refusal of indigenous communities to change the function of forest areas in accordance with the proposed revision of the West Papua RTRWP. “If you reach the forest area in the Arfak Mountains to APL, then we don’t know what work will be done in the future. One day it could be a big disaster for people who live above the altitude of the mountain area, in the valley to the coast where the rivers empty. Now floods have become a serious threat in estuarine areas such as the plains of Prafi, Masni and Sidey in Manokwari district, especially in the future? It must have been far worse, but it was only recently that the Oil Palm Plantation of PT. Perkebunan Nusantara II (PTPN.II) Prafi and PT. Medco Papua Hijau Selaras (MPHS) which made an example.

*** JASOIL Coordinator for Land of Papua – Pietsau Amafnini