Massive deforestation in Papua: Greenpeace reveals loss of 641,400 ha of forests due to industries

Land clearing in Grime Nawa Valley, Jayapura Regency, which is planned to be planted with oil palm. Photo: JubiTV Team

Jayapura, Jubi – Greenpeace Indonesia’s Forest Campaigner Nico Wamafma said that during the period 2000-2020, Papua had lost natural forests of 641,400 hectares. Greenpeace’s research shows that this deforestation occurred due to the increasingly massive licensing of land-based extractive industries that damage the rights of indigenous peoples.

Wamafma stated that the total forests loss consisted of 438,000 hectares spread across Papua Province, Central Papua Province, Mountainous Papua Province and South Papua Province. While the remaining 203,000 hectares are in West Papua and Southwest Papua.

“In the last two decades, we lost a lot of forests in Merauke, Boven Digoel, Mimika, Mappi, Nabire, Fakfak, Teluk Bintuni, Manokwari, Sorong and Kaimana,” Wamafma told Jubi in a phone call on Monday, August 14, 2023.

Papua is losing natural forests due to the licensing of land-based extractive industries, such as mining, Industrial Plantation Forest (HTI), Forest Concession Rights (HPH), and oil palm plantations. Wamafma said the formation of four new provinces resulting from the division of Papua also accelerated the rate of deforestation in Papua.

Wamafma said that if the government continued to take a development approach like the last twenty years that relies on investment, the potential for natural forest loss will be even greater in Papua. Wamafma stated that there are now 34.4 million hectares of natural forests in Papua. (*)

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