A team of researchers of the Centre for Tropical Environmental and Sustainability Science, of the James Cook University in Cairns, Australia have published a scientific article on the impacts of the controversial ‘Trans Papua Raod’ project. The article ‘Hidden challenges for conservation and development along the Trans Papuan economic corridor’ provides new insights in the current state of the project implementation and a scientific analysis regarding the environmental, political and socio-economic challenges that West Papua’s flora, fauna and indigenous communities will face as a result of the project. It is expected that the presence of the road will contribute to conditions which are contrary to conservation and sustainable development, with a strong focus on natural resource exploitation and economic growth under exclusion of the Papuan indigenous peoples. The Centre for Tropical Environmental and Sustainability Science has also published a video with the title ‘Hidden Challenges of the Trans-Papuan Economic Corridor’, which can be viewed on YouTube. A short summary of the article was published on the website of the ‘Alliance of Leading Researchers and Thinkers (ALERT).
Abstract – ‘Hidden challenges for conservation and development along the Trans Papuan economic corridor’
The island of New Guinea harbours one of the world’s largest tracts of intact tropical forest, with 41% of its land area in Indonesian Papua (Papua and Papua Barat Provinces). Within Papua, the advent of a 4000-km ‘development corridor’ reflects a national agenda promoting primary-resource extraction and economic integration. Papua, a resource frontier containing vast forest and mineral resources, increasingly exhibits new conservation and development dynamics suggestive of the earlier frontier development phases of other Indonesian regions. Local environmental and social considerations have been discounted in the headlong rush to establish the corridor and secure access to natural resources. Peatland and forest conversion are increasingly extensive within the epicentres of economic development. Deforestation frontiers are emerging along parts of the expanding development corridor, including within the Lorentz World Heritage Site. Customary land rights for Papua’s indigenous people remain an afterthought to resource development, fomenting conditions contrary to conservation and sustainable development. A centralised development agenda within Indonesia underlies virtually all of these changes. We recommend specific actions to address the environmental, economic, and socio-political challenges of frontier development along the Papuan corridor.