Manokwari (ANTARA) - The Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK), through the Papua Ecoregion Development Control Center (P3E), commended the role of Papuan indigenous people in preserving forests and the environment.

Head of P3E of KLHK Edward Sembiring stated in Manokwari, West Papua, on Thursday that local wisdom maintained by indigenous people has long been in line with the principles of conservation.

"The forests in Tanah Papua are still sustainable because there is local wisdom that is firmly held by the customary law community," Sembiring remarked.

He affirmed that the Papuan traditional law community understands that nature is a source of life that should be protected and cared for akin to a human being.

Indigenous communities also have a crucial role to play in protecting the environmental ecosystem from excessive exploitation of natural resources.

"Investment entering Papua must also receive approval from indigenous people," he emphasized.

Sembiring remarked that in 2023, Minister of Environment and Forestry (LHK) Siti Nurbaya had revoked several permits to release forest areas in Papua, as they were not being used optimally by companies.

The condition cannot be separated from the rejection of traditional law communities towards investment, so investors are reluctant to utilize forest areas despite the status having been transferred.

"The condition of the land remains intact. That is why the permit was revoked to return it to the area status," Sembiring stated.

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He explained that the success of the work plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the forestry sector through Indonesia's Forestry and Other Land Use (FOLU) Net Sink 2030 Program requires the support of indigenous communities.

"This includes educating the public to not burn waste because it will release carbon into the atmosphere," Sembiring stated.

Head of the West Papua Environment and Land Service (DLHP) Reymond Richard Hendrik Yap stated that the tree planting movement was a real step to preserve nature.

Trees offer several benefits for life, such as maintaining the natural balance, preventing soil erosion, absorbing pollutants in the air, and providing a water source.

He highlighted that West Papua's forest area reached 8.39 million hectares, or 87.3 percent, thereby making it the province, with the largest forest area.

Preserving forests and the environment is the most important step to take to ensure the survival of various types of valuable flora and fauna species.

"Therefore, preserving nature is our shared responsibility," Raymond stressed.

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Translator: Fransiskus Salu Weking, Cindy Frishanti Octavia
Editor: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
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