Environmental damage does not stop at the loss of biodiversity, but also touches on various other environmental aspects including the threat of climate change. Forest damage that causes flash floods, damages the ecosystem and livelihoods of local communities can occur if forest management is not carried out optimally. To overcome this, a cultural approach is one of the answers that can be applied and accepted by the people in Papua.
This was discussed in a talk show entitled “Papua Ecology and the Climate Crisis” in a series of basic School of Eco Diplomacy (SED) events in Jayapura, Papua. The SED was carried out in collaboration with the Provincial Government of Papua through the Forestry Service, Cendrawasih University, the Papua Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BBKSDA), Jayapura Community Forum-Jayapura Mangrove House, and the EcoNusa Foundation.
Present at the event were Head of Jayapura City Production Forest Management Unit Yohanes Sugeng Huik, Head of Evaluation of Data Reporting and Public Relations, Center for Conservation of Natural Resources Paulus Baibaba, Vice Rector III of Cendrawasih University, Jhonathan Wororomi, Lecturer in Geography Education Study Program, Cendrawasih University, Yehuda Hamokwarong, and resident of Kampung Sereh, Sentani, Isaiah Eluay.
“When forests are damaged not only are trees lost or flooded, but also the processes of environmental interaction and social, cultural aspects. It’s quite complicated, “said Jhonathan.
Isaiah said, the Cycloops Mountains were damaged by plantation activities. Community gardening at an altitude of 900 meters above sea level. According to Isaiah, many large trees have fallen, turned into community plantations. It also had an impact on the spring. From 124 springs now only 5 springs are still flowing.
“Cycloops used to be very cold. Thick dew and wet clothes. Go inside with the flashlight in the morning (4 o’clock) but now it is light. Big tree and we are timid. Now it’s gone. Cycloops also have landslides like that. Flooded yesterday my house was hit and two children were killed. When I talk about nature reserves, I am sad, ”Isaiah said.
Judah regretted the attitude of the government that granted settlement permits on river banks. That way, he continued, the government did not heed the Spatial and Regional Planning (RTRW). The settlement could actually threaten the safety of residents, such as when there were flash floods and landslides in the Cyloops Mountains.
“Of the victims of the flood yesterday, the most people are residents on the banks of the river. This of course can be dangerous. At present the RTRW is being reviewed by the government, “Yehuda said
Inter-tribal cooperation can also ease conservation efforts. Paulus said, the Cycloops Mountains nature reserve is inhabited by five different tribes. Customary and ethical differences in customary rights holders need to be understood by local governments to facilitate the management of nature reserves.
Yohanes sees the young generation as having a big role to play in conserving natural resources and protecting the community. He hopes that the SED program can bring change to each participant and the environment. “When we love nature, nature will love us more,” Yohanes said.