Timika, 17/3 (Jubi) – Increasing development in the lowland areas of Timika is fueling deforestation and threatening mangrove forests, raising the potential impact of climate change.
“We see a serious threat to the lowland areas because many protected areas are already being converted into development areas,” said best management practice specialist with USAID Indonesia Forest of Climate Support (IFACS), Prianto Wibowo, on Monday (17/3) in Timika.
Wibowo said the opening of mangrove forest areas to development would have an impact on peat-land forests as their damage would cause high levels of abrasion. He said his office would work closely with the National Land Agency (BPN), which has the power to issue certificates for mangrove forest clearance.
“We will work closely with BPN so we can have information which locations already have certificates in order to determine steps to protect the mangrove forests,” he said.
He added he also would focus on areas of high conservation value since taking into account the ecosystem, endangered species, and socio-cultural services.
“We would not only protect the animals, but also other interests. We would support the conservation of mangrove forests as it is local heritage,” said Prianto.
Separately, Deputy Chief of Party of USAID IFACS, Neville Kemp, said the mangrove forest is the second biggest forest in the world after the Sundarbans, covering areas in Mimika and Asmat.
“So Mimika and Asmat have outstanding natural resources that currently must be protected because there are some investors who come to these areas,” he said.
Kemp also said in order to preserve the existing natural resources, the collaboration between all related stakeholders is required.
“All stakeholders are expected to play an important role in protecting the mangrove forests for the future. So there needs to be a clear framework for each stakeholder about their position, role and responsibility as well as their right in order to maintain the sustainability of the mangrove forests,” Kemp said. (Jubi/Eveert/rom)