If there is an expression for the abundance and beauty of a forest, one would possibly be the closest, “Forest is the roots of human livelihood on earth and the lungs of the world”. Forest is indeed a place where many lives that inhabit it depend on it. Therefore, we should always protect and preserve the forests. One of the greatest forests with abundance resources in Papua is Lorentz National Park. Although “law of the jungle”may apply, but the preservation of forest should not be taken recklessly.
Regulation about the forest is stated on Law No. 28 of 2011, Article 1 – which was updated through Government Regulation No. 108, 2015 – the definition of National Park as NCA (Natural Conservation Areas) which has authentic Ecosystem, managed by zoning system used for research, science, education, cultivation, tourism, and recreation.
In Indonesia, there are plenty of forests that becomes national parks. One of them is Lorentz National Park which is located in Papua Province. Lorentz National Park, is one of three national parks in Indonesia that are declared as the world heritage by UNESCO.
The declaration of world heritage by UNESCO on 1999 was based on the fascinating sites that was naturally formed hundreds or even millions years ago. Therefore, if you want to visit Lorentz National Park, you will have the feeling of entering the magnificence and breathtaking imperial nature from the bottom of the mountain to the highest peak of Carstensz!
It is interesting to know that this National Park has 2.4 ml of hectare with several vegetation zones based on the sea level heights, which are Lowland zone, Montain zone, and the highest Sub-Alpine zone, Nival.
Okay, now we will begin to explore the natural palace of Lorentz National Park from the first zone, a.k.a the Lowland Zone! Geographically, this zone is located in 0-659 mdpl. From this zone, you can enjoy the coast with the mangrove forest lining the Arafura sea, which has lots of shrimps, tuna, squids, and demersal fish. Moreover, there is Baliem Valley, which is famous for the long and bent river that often being equated with Amazon river in Brazil. The stream of Baliem river goes to Arafura sea.
On the second zone, the Montain zone is located at 600-2.300 mdpl. The view that you can enjoy is the diversity of the vegetations, such as a collection of tree ferns that can be found on the bushes (and under layer of trees), along with shrubs such as Elatostema, Begonia and a type of Impatiens with pink and orange flowers, which are striking from under the layers. In the middle of this zone, there are also various forests such as Mid-Mountain forest, Captanopsis forest, Notofagus forest, Caniferous forest, and a series of fallow vegetation.
The third zone is Sub-Alphine up to Nival zones, which is located between 3.200-4.585 mdpl. In Sub-Alphine zone, you will be presented with the view of Lorentz National Park that has plenty of moss, tundra, heath and wide grassland. Furthermore to the top, you will see the beautiful lakes on the clouds and glaciers on top of the Jaya Wijaya mountains such as Jaya Wijaya Peak and Carstensz Peak.
Is that all in Lorentz National Park? No!
The fact is, there are plenty more creations of God in Lorentz National Park, such as animal species that we found in vegetation zones like groups of mammal. In this national park, the famous experts of mammal said that this place is the most important area for the mammal varieties in Melanesia. From the 42 species that are registered during the survey, 10 to almost 25 percent is new species record for West Papua, while 2 species are new species. There is also a new and rare species, Tree Kangoroo (Dendrolagus Mbaiso), Dendrolagus Dorianus, Rat species (genus Stenomys), two species of giant rats : Mallomys Aroaensis and Mallomys Istapantap.
Besides mammals, there are 630 bird species or 70 percent of Papuan bird species’ live in Lorentz National Park. In Lorentz National Park there are two types of Cassowary, four Megapodes, 31 types of Pigeon/Dove, 30 types of Cockatoo, 13 types of Kingfisher, 29 types of Sunbird, and 20 types of endemics including long tailed Cendrawasih (Bird of Paradise) and Snow Mountains quails (Anurophasis monorthonyx) that are the particular birds that inhabits this park.
Not only animals and plants, this national park is also inhabited by indigenous Papuan tribes, they are:
- Asmat with sub-tribe Joerat and Emariu Ducur, that lives in the South of East border of Lorentz National Park.
- Nduga, towards the North of East border Lorentz National Park.
- Somahai, towards the East of East border of Lorentz National Park.
- Dani (Hupla, Mukoko, Hiriakup), on the East of East border of Lorentz National Park.
- West Dani/Lani, on the East of North border of Lorentz National Park.
- Moni/Dem, on the West of North border of Lorentz National Park.
- Amungme/Damal, on the South of North border of Lorentz National Park.
- Sempan, on the South of Lorentz National Park, on the South seashore of Papua.
- Komoro with 13 sub-tribes, pm the West border of Lorentz National Park.
Do Not Harm (Save The Forest)
The natural treasures that are spread from the bottom to the top of the Lorentz National Park have amazed many people. This abundance of resources are like “a double edge sword”. In one side, it gives many things for the entities within, especially the people who live around or who are crossing the Lorentz National Park. In the other side, it gives threat to the continuity of the ecosystem within.
In these few years, Lorentz National Park has been reported to have natural destruction due to mining exploration. Not only that, the event of Sail Raja Ampat 2014 is reported to have damaged the area, considering the big infrastructures development like road and lodging that were built to support this international-level event. The illegal logging is also haunting the Lorentz National Park, because many highly-valuable woods still exist, such as Merbau.
There is also a problem that is caused by land expansion in the Lorentz National Park on 2014. The Director of WWF (World Wild Found) for Papua Region, Benja Mambay, in Jayapura said that the road construction in Lorentz National Park territory on some of the regions in Papua have caused damage to most of the territories.
However, on the other hand, the expansion of territory is aimed to make the people of Papua to be autonomous and to optimize the available natural resources and human resources that inhabit it. The land expansion in Papua, which is very vast, can be a solution, because it can ease the local government and local officers in supervising or provide facility that can be useful for the people.
Whatever the problem that occurs from the Lorentz National Park, we should find the win-win solution between the human needs and the blessings of the nature. Because the forests are us and we rely on the natural balance.