The Foja expeditions (also known as Rapid Assessment Projects or RAPs) would not have been possible without the help and support of key partners with whom CI works closely in the Mamberamo.
CI is exchanging data (biological, socio-cultural, and economic) and ideas with and carrying out training programs for the area’s governments, communities, institutions, and other NGOs in order to improve their capacity and understanding of this large-scale, multi-dimensional type of conservation. Working with community and government partners is CI’s long-term sustainability strategy for conservation in the Mamberamo.
Cendrawasih University (UNCEN), Jayapura and State University of Papua (UNIPA), Manokwari
Both of these universities supply the young and upcoming scientists for the RAPs in the Mamberamo and Foja Mountains who are the best local experts on invertebrate and mammal biology. Each national scientist is teamed up with an international scientist with similar expertise to maximize the educational component of the RAP. The 2005 Foja RAP produced over 175 species of butterflies alone – 5 types of which were new to science. The mammal team discovered a high density of mammals – including a new species record for Indonesia and others which are thought to be new to science.
UNCEN’s mission is to train and enhance the technological and human resources of Papua to the benefit of the Papuan people and community. UNIPA’s program focuses on agriculture, forestry, and fisheries. These universities also carry out independent expeditions within the Mamberamo that are sponsored by CI, which aim to collect additional data on rare and endangered species in the Mamberamo and to train students by providing them with invaluable field experience.
Education is a key ingredient for the future conservation of the Foja Mountains, the Mamberamo, and Papua as a whole. Scientific knowledge about Papua’s natural wealth, however, is very poor. Teaching resources in Papuan universities are insufficient by Western standards, and although nature’s laboratory stands on their doorstep, access to the remoter and more pristine places (like the Foja Mountains) is impossible due to the cost of accessing these field sites. RAPs benefit these universities by drawing together international experts that can mentor and train the young local scientists so they have the necessary capacity for conservation exploration, planning, and implementation in the future.
Lembaga Ilmu Pengetahuan Indonesia (Indonesian Institute of Science), Jakarta
LIPI provided two senior scientists – both experts in botany. Yohanes Mogea was also the Indonesian team leader for the expedition. The botany team described many new forms of plants including five species of palms new to science.
LIPI is responsible for the coordination and authority for all forms of research within Indonesia and is therefore a very important partner for CI. Without the permission and support from LIPI, surveys such as the Foja RAP would not take place. This institution reports directly to the president of Indonesia and assists the president in organizing research and development. It also provides guidance, services, and advice to the government on national science and technology policy.
Research data and information about the natural resources provided from activities such as RAP are very important in raising the profile of the Mamberamo and conservation in general. As LIPI is the highest scientific body in Indonesia, conservation in the future is greatly advance by involving our LIPI partners in all stages of the surveys.
Members of the local forestry department were involved in the field teams to assist LIPI, CI, and other scientists.
The Forestry Department is responsible for the conservation and management of the Mamberamo but due to low staff numbers and incredibly small budgets this is an almost impossible task. Enhancing the capacity of the Forestry Department staff is essential for the future conservation of the Mamberamo. CI activities provide the only opportunity for Forestry Department personnel to visit the field.
Local Government, Papua Provincial Government
The local governments in Papua supported the surveys and filming of the Foja Mountains.
It is extremely important that the local governments understand the need for conservation. At present they are supportive.
Papasena and Kwerba Communities
The local communities’ involvement and support of the Foja surveys were key to the RAPs’ success. The Foja Mountains are a sacred site and gaining permission to access these remote and beautiful mountains took CI nearly 5 years by developing trust between CI and the local communities. Because the area is culturally sensitive, the communities were involved in every aspect of survey implementation. They also act as local experts, providing indigenous information, guides, porters, and much more.
The local communities are the day-to day managers of the nature reserve in Mamberamo.
Ultimately the conservation of the Foja Mountains will be the responsibility of the traditional land owners – the local communities that live in the Mamberamo. Since their livelihoods depend largely on the natural resources provided by the mountains, the conservation of these very resources is to their advantage at present.
South Australian Museum
The South Australian Museum provided the RAP team leader, Steve Richards, for the 2005 survey to the Fojas. Steve is a leading herpetologist and is very committed to training future scientists from the island of New Guinea.
Wayne Takeuchi is one of the world’s foremost experts on New Guinea flora and he has discovered dozens of new species as a regular participant of CI’s RAPs.
Center for International Forestry Research
Although CIFOR was not specifically involved in the Foja Mountain RAPs, the Center developed the Multidisciplinary Landscape Assessment (MLA) method to facilitate land use decisions that balance the forest needs of local people while ensuring the forest’s long-term survival. CI has adapted this methodology to its work in the Mamberamo, using the data to help communities formulate Community Conservation Agreements.
In 2004, CI sponsored a workshop that CIFOR conducted on MLA methodology and was attended by partners from the University of Cendrawasih, Papua State University, the Environmental Management Office for Papua (BAPEDALDA), and the Natural Resources Conservation Office for Papua (BKSDA). Workshop participants received advice and training from CIFOR in using MLA methods for checking, analyzing, and summarizing data collected in the Mamberamo Basin. CI uses this MLA data to help communities recognize the local services and benefits available from tropical landscapes and by helping to identify the costs of bad management policies and management strategies.
Do you have questions or comments about the Foja Mountains expedition? Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.