To Conserve West Papua, Start with Land Rights

Authors

Bernadiuns Steni, Daniel Nepstad

Abstract

West Papua Province in Indonesia retains over 90 per cent of its forest cover, as well as some of the world’s most biologically diverse marine areas. The drive to become a conservation province, however, runs the risk of repeating past mistakes that have disadvantaged indigenous communities and left their customary land rights unrecognized. We recommend that the recognition of customary land and resource rights should be prioritized, followed by strengthening the management capacity of customary institutions while improving the markets and value for forest-maintaining community enterprise, as we illustrate with the District of Fakfak.