Trans Papua Road: Staying National Park friendly

When development meets nature, sometimes nature is forced to lie down; this is not the case in West Papua. In this rare occasion, the major project of Trans Papua road steps aside for the preservation of Lorentz Park.

One of the reasons for the delay comes from the concern over Lorentz Park which is the biggest national park in South East Asia. The need to take special care over this national treasure makes the Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing (PUPR) opted to find other routes. The project is targeted for completion in 2018. It will open remote areas such as the Wamena area of Papua and Puncak Jaya.

Lorentz National Park (2.35 million ha) is the largest protected area in South-East Asia. It is the only protected area in the world to incorporate a continuous, intact transect from snowcap to tropical marine environment, including extensive lowland wetlands. The area also contains fossil sites which provide evidence of the evolution of life on New Guinea, a high level of endemic and the highest level of biodiversity in the region.

Thirty-four vegetation types and 29 land systems have been identified within the property along with some 123 recorded mammal species, representing 80% of the total mammalian fauna of Irian Jaya. Mammals recorded include two of the world’s three monotremes; the short-beaked echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus), and the long-beaked echidna (Zaglossus bruijinii) a New Guinea endemic. In addition it is also home to a large number of restricted range (45) and endemic (9) bird species. The property has remarkable, cultural diversity, with seven ethnic groups, maintaining their traditional lifestyles. The highland, communities include the Amungme (Damal), Dani Barat, Dani Lembah Baliem, Moni and Nduga, whereas in the lowlands there are Asmat, Kamoro and Sempan.

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By Philomène Martinelli (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons

Thereafter, the construction will be continued at Ilaga in Puncak Jaya region. Later on, the Ilaga road will be connected with the 466 KM roads of Wamena-Noble-Ilaga. The roads that have not been connected are Hebema-Kenyam, Kenyam-Batas Batu with, and Batas Batu-Mamugu. Up to now, the construction has reached 3.667 KM which is 85 percent of the total development. During the year of 2015 the Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing (PUPR) has been able to open 169 KM of new roadways.

According to the data of Ministry of PUPR, in 2014 there are 827 KM of Trans Papua Road that has not been completed because it is still covered with jungle. At the end of 2015, 169 KM of roads have been completed, with only 658 KM left to build.



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