Jayapura, Jubi– The population of xanthostemon novoguineensis, the endemic wood tree of Papua that locally known as ‘sowang’, nowadays has been threatened because of logging activities for cooking fuel.
“The endemic wood tree that grows in Jayapura City is continuing to extinct because of people,” said the Coordinator of the Port Numbay Greend Forum (FPPNG), Freedy Wanda to Jubi recently.
Further, he said even though an awareness campaign on the importance of sowang woods protection has done, it is not useful because indigenous people of Port Numbay are still not paying attention.
Although FPPNG has replanted some young trees, Wanda expects the Plantation and Nursery Agency could prepare as many seeds as possible.
Meanwhile, the village chief of Enggros, Orgenes Meraudje said local people are now facing difficulties with the fact that sowang woods are started to run out because people previously use it for home building.
“As now sowang woods are running out, people commonly use concretes for building their houses,” said Meraudje.
In the past, according to him, villagers had a traditional management of using sowang woods wisely; people should do a particular ritual before cutting trees, and the remarkably old trees would cut for housing. He further said houses made from the sowang woods could last for five to ten years because they are resistant to seawater and not easily broken or collapse.
Sowang wood tree mostly grows around the areas of the Mount Cycloop and Pasir Enam in Jayapura City. Unfortunately, it begins to extinct because of the needs of the household for cooking.
Sowang woods are usually for charcoals, and today because of the economic factor, those charcoals are sold to some restaurants in Jayapura City. Its well-known quality of resistance in burning process becomes the main reason why many restaurant managers prefer it for cooking fuel.
A woodcutter, Agus said he cut the sowang trees for producing charcoals. “I cut and burn it; then the charcoals are ready to sell,” he said. However, getting the sowang trees is considerably hard because they begin to extinct. So he must walk through to a very remote mountainous area. “Moving it down is also not easy because we have to go through a very poor pathway,” he said. (*)
Jayapura, Jubi –Dozens of people from eight clans in Kaptel Sub-district, Merauke headed by the Sub-district Chief Wister Hutapea came to the local parliament office on Monday, 30 April 2018 to meet the Chairman of Tenure Right Special Committee Nathaniel Paliting and two representatives of PT Nufta.
A clan chief Lukas Samkakai revealed that since 2011, PT Nutfa opened the land for the industrial planting forest. However, the company never announced their land clearing activity to the eight clans of the landowners. People then complained the 1300 hectares of planned 65,000 hectares of land clearing by the company. As a result, the company agreed to meet the community and agreed to pay Rp 300 million compensation.
“We agreed with the price and the company gave us Rp 20 million in October 2017. Then, they promised to pay the rest of amount in the near There is no response or further follow up after this payment,” said Samkakai. After waiting for so long, they decided to come to the Merauke Regional Council Office.
The Chief of Kaptel Sub-district, Wister Hutapea admitted the company cleared the land of the two clans so far, but not yet the six clans’. As a sub-district chief, I absolutely cannot be silent; I have to support the indigenous landowners’ rights,” he said. Therefore, he expects the regional council of Merauke can accommodate people by forcing the company to pay such compensation. If not people will be complaining and it would affect the company’s operation.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of Tenure Right Special Committee, Nathaniel Paliting said the meeting between the council and representatives of eight clans and company representatives was a follow up of the visit of councillors to Kampung Boepe a few times ago.
“We facilitated this meeting to enable these representatives to sit together and talk. As a response, the two representatives of PT Nutfa said they have to ask further guidance from their director in Jakarta,” he said.
The council, further Paliting said, gives three days for the company to settle their response towards the people’s demand.
“I listened to the company’s talk that there is an agreement between the company and community about the land clearing in 2011,” he said.
Based on this evidence, the committee asked the company to provide the agreement for further review. “We don’t know about it in detail. They must present the contract upon us for taking immediate steps so that people from the eight clans would not be in the same situation anymore,” he said. (*)
‘Have you been here before?’ they all seem to ask, conscious that their corner of the world has not been high on the tourist bucket list. And I am revelling in being able to say ‘Yes, but not for 50 years.’ Papua New Guinea was even more remote from the jetset in 1968, but the schoolboy that I was then had indeed spent a fortnight or more on a tour with his father of the incipient banking industry of the soon-to-be nation. Many things I remember vividly.
This time I’m in PNG for the meeting, held every three or four years, of the Federation of Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of Oceania (FCBCO), comprising the bishops of PNG, Australia, NZ and the far-flung island nations, French- and English-speaking, that make up CEPAC, the Conférence des Évĕques du Pacifique. There are 80 or so of us and Port Moresby is on high alert. In November they will host the APEC meeting, possibly with Trump and Putin, and this is a great opportunity for the government and local security people to practise. The paramilitary police escort on our jaunts across town and the occasional helicopter above do seem a bit more than a mob of bishops would normally be accorded. The hotel’s own security is no less obvious but, apparently by design, less intimidating. The delightful Sebastian who guards the main door is a prime example; a small, broad-smiling Chimbu man, he is on for a chat and very happy to show you the workings of his pump-action Winchester shotgun. Friendly forces!
The heading of this article is the subtitle of the Conference. The Pacific is a region with its own troubles, but ‘A Sea of Possibilities’. In large part, the program is designed for the real Pacific bishops to share their troubles with the bishops of the developed nations, Australia and NZ. The biggie is climate change and the rising oceans. Sea levels around the world do not rise evenly, and the mid-Pacific is inundation central. The small coral islands, and hence some entire countries, are under threat and some have already become uninhabitable. The Archbishop of Suva is a bit of a star in this discussion, having recently provided land in Fiji for the population of a small island that has already become uninhabitable. There’s no doubt in this region about what has to happen about burning coal.
‘Climate refugees’ are not, however, the only refugees of concern. The Governor of the Port Moresby region gives Australia a fair old serve on the Manus Island debacle. PNG always knew it was an immoral ‘solution’, he says, but the Australians asked and they are our friends. But now they’ve broken all promises and walked away, leaving PNG to cope as best it can. Still, it’s a minor issue compared with the problem of the refugees from Indonesian West Papua who have flooded into the border zones of the Western Highlands. The Indonesians have no historic, ethnic or religious connection with the people of West Papua, he insists, and no right to be installing settlers from Java, but Indonesia is a big country and the West is letting them do what they like. Again, PNG is left to cope with the fallout. Finally, the PNG bishops are concerned about sea-bed mining. It’s an untested technology that will be trialled, by European miners, in the seas off New Ireland where presumably, if it causes an environmental disaster, only a few unimportant countries will be affected. They want us to know what’s going on.
They want us to know and to care. Perhaps in Australia what the church thinks and says is no longer of much importance, but that is not the case in the Pacific. PNG, the Prime Minister tells us at the Conference dinner, is a deeply Christian country. Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’,on ‘care for our common home’ and the need for ‘ecological conversion’, is much quoted. PNG is more than half Catholic and would be unworkable without the church’s schools, clinics and aid services. They are enormously grateful that the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Parolin, has come to Moresby for this conference. Here is their voice being heard on the world stage; the church can speak for them in the councils of the great, as the Pope has already done. There’s an innocence about their confidence in the influence of the church, but I do hope they are right and we can do something. The Pacific, and its wonderful peoples, are a Sea of Possibilities.