​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Four Recommendations to Conserve Ecosystems

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"Training of assessing conservation areas can lead to improved management effectiveness. The data obtained can be taken into account for better management in the future," declared the Head of Natural Resources Conservation Office (Balai Konservasi Sumber Day​​a Alam - BKSDA) of Region II Manokwari, Donal Hutasoid in a conservation assessment training in Manokwari, West Papua.​

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EditDescription:A map of protected areas in West Papua.
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Assessment of conservation area is crucial inputs when the West Papuan Government establishes policies on the management of conservation areas as a realization of Conservation Province. Larger area and increased number of conservation areas in West Papua are very encouraging, but without better management of the areas, they will fail to provide maximum benefits to protect the biodiversity, environmental services, and the ecosystems.

Hence, is the management of these areas already effective?

Conservation International (CI) Indonesia supported BKSDA of West Papua to provide training and carry out an assessment of the effectiveness of conservation area management. Cenderawasih Bay National Park and University of Papua also took part in the activity.

The METT (Management Effectiveness Tracking Tool) was used as a method in the assessment. Six essential elements were considered in the assessment, namely context including the status of an area; plans including design; inputs including the necessary resources; processes including how the conservation areas are managed; outputs including the result of management activities; and outcomes including the condition of the conservation areas. The assessment showed a number of significant threats found, such as incompatible land use planning in related to the areas' purposes and functions.

In the middle of the training, Isak B. Samori, Head of KSDA of Fakfak District said, "This training is conducted for the first time, and is very useful as a guide to assess the onsite areas. Also, this method can create and build cohesion between local communities and conservation area management."​

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EditDescription:The result of management effectiveness of protected areas in Region II West Papua. (Mean: 41.25%, SE: 2.81, n: 12).
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​​​​The METT, a well-known measuring tool that has been used in more than 100 countries, including in China and Africa, has assessed more than 2000 protected areas. To date, more than 40 measuring tools have been developed worldwide. The METT method is preferred because it can save costs and is a human friendly application.

The assessment described that Meja Mountain Nature Park receives a score of 53%, and the lowest score of 26% is received by Mubrani-Kaironi Wildlife Sanctuary. The average METT score of 12 conservation areas (see map) is 41.25%. The score is below the average score of several conservation areas in Indonesia, which is around 46% -52%.

The following are several recommendations for implementation in the near future:​

  1. To develop management plans for areas in order to control the negative impacts on ecosystems and preserve the ecosystems in those areas. This will encourage the maintenance, conservation and sustainable of the natural resources. Healthy resources will be valuable for community in surrounding areas, as they depend on nature.​

  2. To adopt an adaptive management reference and incorporate it into a regular planning cycle for an improved areas’ management strategy to better fit with their objectives and functions.​

  3. To strengthen management collaboration with other agencies in West Papua to ensure the ecosystem sustainability.

  4. To thoroughly promote and raise public awareness on biodiversity and social values in West Papua. The local community need to understand the importance of sustainable natural resources and ecosystems in West Papua Province for their current and future life.​

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The METT training and above recommendations are expected to further improve the conservation management. The processes starting from rigorous planning provide better results for the ecosystems in West Papua. A preserved and sustain ecosystem is not only beneficial for biodiversity and wildlife inside, but for current and future human life.​

(Geraldy Arief)

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