Million hectares of Merauke forest lost and converted

Merauke
Screenshot via Hansen Global Forest Change satellite image of the condition of the forest area in one of the districts in Merauke Regency. The red mark indicates the converted forest area -Jubi/Emanuel Riberu

Merauke, Jubi – In the last two decades, or during 2001-2021, 925,000 hectares of forest area in Merauke Regency have been lost, while 2,652,335 have been converted “for development and growth” during the same period.

Reports on the loss of forest areas in Merauke are produced through the Hansen Global Forest Change v1.9 2021 satellite image – the Hansen/UMD/Google/USGS/NASA dataset accessed via Google Earth Engine on Monday, July 25, 2022.

Using remote sensing data developed by the University of Indonesia’s Geographical Lecturer Masita Dwi Mandini Manesa, the data shows that 59.4 percent of Merauke’s total forest area of 4,461,166.92 hectares is used for plantations, agriculture, and food crops such as oil palm, industrial forests plantations (HTI), and food barn projects. Forest loss covers 20.73 percent of the total forest area. The Merauke Regency itself has an area of 46,792 square kilometers.

Monitored through satellite imagery, the lost forest area of Merauke is spread over 20 districts. Ulilin District is the area that has the most forest loss, namely 300,000 hectares, and 991,366 hectares of its forest areas have been converted.

Kaptel District lost 100,000 hectares of forest and had 199,233 hectares converted. Waan District lost 75,000 hectares and had 114,007 hectares converted. Meanwhile, Sota District lost 6,000 hectares and had 28,622 hectares converted; Kurik District lost 20,000 hectares and had 62,194 hectares converted; Okaba District lost 40,000 hectares and had 137,059 converted, and the Animha district lost 30,000 hectares, as well as having 79,220 hectares of its forest converted.

In Kimaam District, 60,000 hectares of forest area were lost while 97,641 hectares were converted. Malind District lost 6,000 hectares and had 27,202 hectares converted, while Muting District lost 60,000 hectares and had 211,770 hectares converted.

Furthermore, Ngguti District lost 60,000 hectares and had 217,421 hectares of forest area converted. Tubang District lost 15,000 hectares and had 30,741 hectares converted. Ilwayab District lost 15,000 hectares and had 38,235 hectares converted. Jagebob District lost 40,000 hectares and had 59,046 hectares converted. Tabonji District lost 10,000 hectares and had 23,616 hectares converted. Elikobel District lost 60,000 hectares and had 205,349 converted. Semangga District lost 4,000 hectares and had 20,861 hectares converted. Naukenjerai District lost 7,500 hectares and had 36,345 hectares converted. Tanah Miring District lost 15,000 hectares and had 64,100 hectares converted. Finally, the least forest area lost is in Merauke District, the capital city of Merauke Regency, which was 1,500 hectares while the converted forest area was 8,703 hectares. (*)

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