We are thankful to UNDP PNG for re-publishing this article – People of Morokea protect future of biodiversity. The people of West New Britain Province are taking ownership to protect and preserve their forest and the biodiversity it supports.
The conservation of biodiversity in Papua New Guinea is an important agenda for our communities, both local and global.
People of Morokea protect future of biodiversity
In West New Britain, an island province of Papua New Guinea, a local community-based organisation is stepping up to protect nature as monoculture expansion and logging activities threaten biodiversity.
Lake Umboli is a traditional and customary icon to the people of Morokea, and the surrounding village of Ruango. The lake is located within the Whiteman Range, a mountainous region in West New Britain province, south of Kimbe, covering an area of 175,703 ha and rich in biodiversity.
Biodiversity at Lake Umboli conservation site under threat
An initiative of the Pa’Ubol Koverng Conservation Alliance based in Morokea Village, the Lake Umboli Biodiversity Conservation Project is working on measures to address threats to local biodiversity, in partnership with West New Britain Community Development Forum (a local non-government organization specialising in project management at the community level).
Biodiversity at the Lake Umboli conservation site is under threat at an alarming rate as it shares a border with logging activities. On one side are mere memories of pristine forest, and on the other side, standing tall are majestic trees of the remaining forest.
The surrounding lake area is [an] important habitat for multiple local species within the conservation buffer zone. Most notable are the keystone tree species of ficus, artocarpus and canarium inducum that perform important ecosystem services and supply shelter and breeding habitat for bats, birds, and cassowaries. Intact forest promotes natural regeneration to encompass critical environmental values.
Logging damaged surrounding forested area
Ms Theodora Maea, the project lead of the Lake Umboli Biodiversity Conservation Project, explains that in recent years logging has damaged the surrounding forested area, and it is only a matter of time before oil palm development in the province also reaches this region.
Dedication and commitment from the local community, and key stakeholders in biodiversity conservation, is propelling the project to ensure that this important site is protected for future generations.
The vital rapid assessment to document the biodiversity values of the Lake Umboli Project site was enabled by the Global Environment Fund (GEF) Small Grants Programme (SGP).
The GEF Small Grants Programme supports local communities, community-based organizations and non-government organizations in providing financial and technical support to projects and initiatives that conserve and restore the environment, while enhancing people’s well-being and livelihoods.
Nature Conservation in Papua New Guinea
The rate at which forested areas are dissipating due to logging in Papua New Guinea is alarming. Forests are the lifeline of our people. Moreso, they support a large population of other living things who call these areas, home.
We, the people and govt, cannot ignore this simple fact for monetary gains!
At the same time, we must appreciate the conservation efforts of the Local Communities and International Communities who are working to protect the forests.
The govt should know that it cannot use our forests as a ‘bargaining chip’. There is NO monetary benefit that is anywhere close to protecting the land, rivers and everything that the forest houses.
Forest is the lifeline of the people and everything that depends on it!
Communities & NGOs nature conservation efforts
We featured articles from conservation groups and individuals since we established PNG Insight. We hope that the conservation of our forests is taken seriously.
If the PNG govt and the people do not protect and preserve our rainforests, the international communities and agencies cannot do much. And, it is going to be too late before we realise it.
Read our collection of articles about conservations in Papua New Guinea:
- Research and Nature Conservation Passion Behind the Work
- Binatang Research Centre: Study, Collaboration, Conservation
- Mt Wilhelm Nature Conservation Area Research and Conservation Field Trip
- International Forest Day: Why it is important for PNG
- Deforestation Caused by Logging is Worst Kind
Finally, thank you to UNDP PNG for re-publishing your article.