Protecting Nature in the style of the Banbak Atuw Car Forest Conservation Group

The Forest Guard Group or KJH Banbak Atuw Car is a youth group formed by the Head of Yepem Village in 2018. This group has the task of maintaining and protecting customary areas or forests and natural resources in Yepem Village, Asmat Regency, Papua. They carry out this task through routine monitoring and patrol activities. In carrying out their duties, this group is under the direct supervision and direction of the Village Head and the traditional elders of Yepem Village. The name KJH Banbak Atuw Car means “let’s see it together.” This name was chosen based on the spirit they carry, namely the supervision of natural resources (SDA) which is carried out together (collaboratively) in collaboration with supporting parties. Its main activities, namely monitoring and routine patrols are carried out to minimize the excessive and destructive use of natural resources. In addition, to find out the natural changes that occur and have the potential to hurt the indigenous people of Yepem Village and surrounding areas. On August 8-10 2022, KJH Banbak Atuw Car in collaboration with Blue Forest Foundation, again carried out a series of routine monitoring and patrol stages. This activity is part of the work plan for KJH Banbak Atuw Car in 2022. The implementation of patrol activities begins with a preparation session to ensure all needs and needs before monitoring is carried out. In this session, members of KJH Banbak Atuw Car discussed determining the monitoring area or location and dividing the roles of each member. With facilitation from the Blue Forest Foundation, members of KJH Banbak Atuw Car also get capacity building

Figure 1. Participants discuss the division of tasks in the monitoring group

  In terms of using monitoring equipment, such as GPS, compass, and supporting applications when tracking monitoring locations. This monitoring activity by KJH Banbak Atuw Car was carried out in the border area of ​​Yepem Village and Suwruw Village. The selection of this location was based on issues related to land clearing carried out by the people of Suwruw village in a location that is still the management area of ​​the Yepem village community. “We heard the story of land clearing already”. We are monitoring there to see how far the land clearing for the garden is,” said Kasimirus Yakai, Chairman of KJH Banbak Atuw Car, during a monitoring preparation meeting. Technically, the monitoring location is divided into three plots measuring 100×20 meters. This is done so that the results obtained are more varied. In addition, this technique also makes it easier for KJH members to identify changes that occur, both naturally and caused by humans. In each plot, the members share roles. Some are in charge of measuring and plotting the reach, and others are in charge of observing the locations that have been plotted while filling out tally sheets. There are also other members in charge of operating monitoring equipment such as GPS and compasses. While the front member is tasked with cleaning the tracking path. The division of tasks during monitoring and patrolling is carried out in rotation so that each member has the opportunity to take on other roles. This is part of the process of capacity building of KJH members in carrying out monitoring tasks. In this way, it is also able to provide data variations based on the observations of each member of KJH Banbak Atuw Car.

Figure 2 KJH members fill out the monitoring form

By the circulating issues related to the land clearing by people from outside Yepem Village, this monitoring activity found a land clearing with an area of ​​about 500×200 meters. The cleared land was turned into a plantation by the people of Kampung Suwruw. In addition, it was also found that there was a bastardization by those who planned to carry out horticultural plant development activities with illegal permits because they were given by people who were not the owners of ulayat rights. The results of the monitoring and patrol activities by KJH Banbak Atuw Car are then included in a monitoring report. The monitoring report is then forwarded to the supervisor, namely the village traditional elders, and to the supervisor, namely the Yepem Village Head. It is hoped that the results and reports will become a reference for the village community through traditional institutions and village officials to determine the right policy for the changes that occur in the natural resource management area of ​​the Yepem village community.

“I am very grateful for this activity (monitoring and patrolling). I was surprised by the truth of the news of land clearing in the border area. We will follow up. I will coordinate with the Head of Suwruw Village to resolve this issue,” said Leonardus Jiwem, Head of Yepem Village, in response to the report on the results of monitoring activities of KJH Banbak Atuw Car.

As a follow-up, KJH Banbak Atuw Car will again carry out monitoring and patrol activities shortly. The plan is that they will collaborate with BKSDA SKW 1 Agats to monitor the process of building road facilities at the location of the clean water source in Yepem Village which is connected to Agats City. Written by Benediktus Randy Puhiri

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