Beradat Menjaga Hutan: Local Wisdom for Forest Sustainability
© EcoNusa Foundation

Beradat Menjaga Hutan or well-manner in protecting the forest is a phrase that has been used by EcoNusa in its Outlook 2020. The term emphasizes that any effort in protecting forests should be civilized and cultured, hence well-mannered. EcoNusa Outlook 2020 event took place last Tuesday (28/01) and revealed stories from research expeditions in West Papua Province throughout 2019.

The joint-research expedition delved into the utilization of mangrove ecosystem in West Papua Province as a breeding site for domestic species of fish, crab, and prawn. With a preserved mangrove ecosystem, all ecosystem components create such interdependency. On those visited sites, the local communities realize that they reap what they sow by conserving nature. By taking care of the mangrove, there is a higher chance of various water animals coming to the area, usually to take shelter and reproduce. The locals then harvest these animals at a sustainable rate where most of the animals are used as sources of food.

While they mostly rely on nature, the communities also have the eagerness to developed and empower themselves to become more advanced societies. Jimmy F. Wanma, a researcher from Universitas Papua who came to the event as one of the spokespersons, told that the local communities live their day-to-day in the middle of the forest. They live miles away from civilized and crowded area even from the outer community villages. There is a joke between the community, “If we go to the nearest village with markets to sell our crops, it may root on our shoulder and back due to the very long way to go for a round-trip.”

Beradat Menjaga Hutan Local Wisdom for Forest Sustainability

In the following session, Kaimana Regency’s head, Matias Mairuma, emphasized on the gap between the native and newcomer. Although the regional revenue is sky-high on the graph, the gap is still not addressed. Only ‘the outsiders’ (the term often used by native people to refer the people coming from outside Papua) have enormous capital and asset in the area. Meanwhile, the son of the soil has no chance to exist in the various developing industries, especially tourism. Matias highlighted the importance to address this irony with proper support from all stakeholders since Papua has an immense potential to be developed with its distinct cultural wisdom.