Manokwari, West Papua (ANTARA) - West Papua needs more forest rangers due to its expansive forest area, reaching 8.39 million hectares, while currently, the number of forest rangers reaches only 98.

"Our forest rangers are only 98 people. However, many will retire. Ideally, the number of forest rangers in West Papua should be 240 to 300," Head of the West Papua Forestry Office Hendrik Runaweri stated here on Tuesday.

He said, each district and city in West Papua should have at least 20 forest rangers.

Runaweri explained that theoretically, one forest ranger guards approximately 10 thousand hectares of forest.

However, with only 98 rangers, each of them must guard around 85.6 thousand hectares. Even more, ideally, the West Papua Forestry Office requires as many as 800 forest rangers to optimize the efforts of protecting the forest areas.

"We had submitted a proposal to the BKD (Regional Civil Service Agency), but there was no response. We hope that (forest rangers) would be added soon, so their function in protecting the forest can be maximized," Runaweri remarked.

He also called to give serious attention to the forestry area in West Papua since the province has a large conservation area, spanning 6.73 hectares of all the forest areas owned.

"As a conservation area, if this condition continues, it is feared that our forest area will decrease due to unrecorded activities," he remarked.

Nevertheless, Runaweri expressed optimism that the forestry offices in each district and city would always work optimally to keep forest areas in West Papua safe and sustainable.

Forest rangers have the duty to protect against various forms of forestry crimes, such as forest encroachment, illegal logging, illegal mining, and poaching of animals.

Along with the development of forestry crime technology, forest rangers have an important role in cracking down on criminals in the forestry sector that can eventually threaten people's lives, ecosystems, and biodiversity.

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Translator: Tri S, Kenzu
Editor: Sri Haryati
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