In a Papuan district, tribes push to revive a legacy of sustainability

first_imgActivism, Community Forests, Community-based Conservation, Conservation, Environment, Environmental Activism, Forest People, Forests, Indigenous Communities, Indigenous Groups, Indigenous Peoples, Rainforest Conservation Article published by Basten Gokkon Two tribes in the foothills of the Cyclops Mountains in eastern Indonesia have ratified a village regulation that aims to formalize their age-old traditions of sustainable forestry, farming and fishing.Though practiced for generations, the traditions have increasingly been abandoned in favor of higher-yield — but destructive — practices such as indiscriminate logging and blast fishing.The new regulation stipulates customary fines on top of those imposed under national legislation, which the tribes say the government must do more to enforce. JAYAPURA, Indonesia — On a sunny afternoon in early August, two tribal chiefs in northern Papua province, at the eastern end of the Indonesian archipelago, met to formalize the system of sustainable farming, forestry and fishing that their communities had practiced for generations.There was a sense of urgency to the meeting of the two chiefs, known locally as ondoafi, whose people have for decades depended on the natural resources from the land and sea in their homeland at the foot of the Cyclops Mountains, but whose traditions have begun to flag.“We must establish this regulation so that no one will carelessly take something from nature, especially the Cyclops Mountains,” said Yafet Ikari, the ondoafi of Ormu Wari village.Residents of Ormu Wari village discuss the village regulation on sustainable practices. Photo by Ronald Kapisa/Mongabay-Indonesia.It may have seemed a redundant point to emphasize to the people of Ormu Wari, whose environmentally sustainable way of life was hailed as far back as 1983 by the Indonesian government, which bestowed on them an award for their efforts to conserve nature. The villagers are also known to practice herbal medicine using locally sourced plants, which they incorporate into their traditional rituals and culture.But it wasn’t until six years later, when a devastating flood hit the region, that it became clear not everyone was abiding by the age-old traditions. The flooding, Yafet said, was exacerbated by reckless clearing of land uphill by parties “who dismissed just like that the rules that had been handed down since the time of our forefathers.”A similar disregard for convention was also blamed for the overhunting of birds-of-paradise, for which Papua is famous.With the formalization of these ancient wisdoms in the shape of a village regulation, Yafet hopes to restore the once deeply held respect that the people had for local customs. Under the regulation, violators will be liable to pay a fine in the form of a tomako — a traditional stone axe — and up to 25 million rupiah ($1,750) in cash. This is on top of any punishment stipulated under Indonesia’s natural resources conservation law, which can impose jail sentences of up to five years and fines of up to 100 million rupiah.The other ondoafi, Gustaf Toto from Nechiebe village, said protecting the Cyclops Mountains — which cover 314 square kilometers (121 square miles) and comprise primary and secondary dryland forests — was a cause that had been passed down through the generations. The village deems the landscape sacred as it was part of their ancestors’ lives.Tribal elders and local officials at Nechiebe village are backing a village regulation on sustainable management of the natural resources at the foot of Cyclops Mountains, where their homes are located. Photo by Christopel Paino/Mongabay-Indonesia.“Our customs oblige us to never clear land for a plantation in such a way that it damages the forests,” Gustaf said.The ban on destructive activities also extends to the region’s Pacific coast, which some of the Nechiebe people ply as fishermen. Here, their customary laws bar them from blast fishing or cyanide fishing, and prohibit the catching of turtles, sea cucumbers and lobsters. The villagers also observe a ritual known as sasi laut, in which fishing activities are suspended for a period to prevent overfishing.“Nechiebe village has a lot of potential in natural resources from the land, coast and sea,” Gustaf said.The problem, though, is the lack of support from the local government, he said. He cited an instance when the villagers caught and reported a fisherman for blast fishing, which had damaged the surrounding coral reef. The local authorities, however, took no action against the perpetrator.“My hope is for this village regulation on the management of natural resources in the Cyclops Mountains to be implemented by all stakeholders — not only the people of this village, but also those living outside,” Gustaf said.This story was reported by Mongabay’s Indonesia team and was first published here, here, and here on our Indonesian site on Aug. 30, Sept. 2 and Oct. 18, 2017.Banner image: A richly forested beach in Nechiebe village in Ravenirara district, Papua province. Photo for Mongabay-Indonesia.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.center_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img

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