Two sites have been chosen in Papua, Indonesia for implementation of the Livelihoods and Landscapes Initiative
The first site, located in an area known as “Birds Neck” is situated in West Papua Province. “Birds Neck” is an area of lowland forest which includes parts of Bintuni Bay, the Arguni Bay, Triton Bay (and three lakes) and the Cendrawasih Bay National Park. The area is sparsely inhabited by people who subsist on sago that they harvest in the wild and on other products that they hunt and gather in the forest. It is an area of very high biodiversity value. However, the entire area is at risk of being radically altered by planned infrastructure, oil palm plantations and logging activities. IUCN will work with local NGOs based in Manokwari to establish the building blocks for a sustainable landscape in this area.
The second site is located in the Wamena/Baliem Valley, situated in Papua Province. The area is not only home to the Lorentz National Park World Heritage Site, but also to the densest and poorest population of Papua who are encroaching on the National Park to extend their cultivation of sweet potatoes and to harvest timber. Major changes are also expected in this area as there are plans to open road access to the coast. One of IUCN’s key roles here will be to support the governor’s plan to develop a “Forest Management Unit” on a landscape scale to manage the balance between conservation and development.
The sites were selected during a scoping trip organized by the Samdhana Institute and IUCN that took place in February, during which meetings were held with IUCN members and partners CIFOR, ICRAF, CIRAD, UNESCO and the Indonesian National Research Center-LIPI. Site visits were taken with the participation of National Park staff, Ministry of Forestry, Conservation International, WWF, FFI, local NGOs, Charles Darwin University, and students from the Universitas Papua.
The team felt that together, these sites represent some of the fundamental problems facing Papua and fit the criteria for selected landscapes set out by the Livelihoods and Landscapes Initiative, which are:
- High biodiversity values
- Livelihood dependency on forest biodiversity
- Facilitates policy into practice and practice into policy loops
- Supports partnerships for implementation of the Initiative
- Landscapes are changing, or under threat of change, due to development pressure