The trials of Dr Nadile: PM O’Neill, please intervene
O’Neill committed to UN development goals

Trans-Gogol people establish conservation area


THE KULUMU, Koromala, Galogein, Beu and Boding clans of Derin village in the Trans-Gogol local level government area of Madang Province signed a conservation deed on Friday that will see the creation of a 2,500 ha conservation area.

People gathered at Warakalap hamlet to witness the signing ceremony. Villagers created the conservation area in response to the threats to their environment posed by nearby Forestry activity by JANT Ltd.

JANT is a woodchip company that has been operating in the Trans-Gogol area since the early 1970s. In 1975, the tropical rainforest of the Derin people was clear felled by JANT under a Timber Agreement with the government of Papua New Guinea.

Many villagers feel betrayed by the State and said the ignorance of their fathers was used to acquire the forests leading to an environmental disaster.

“Before JANT came, everything was good. Today the soil and waterways have been destroyed,” Golu Kuyerir, a local villager said.

He also stated that the community fears that the regenerated forests will be targeted by forestry companies. He said by giving legal protection to certain areas, the community hopes to conserve land and resources for the future generations.

The path to conservation was established after the bitter experience of losing their entire native forests. The people of Derin approached local NGO, the Bismarck Ramu Group, to facilitate the process of creating a conservation area.

In 2009, the NGO sent in community facilitators to begin the formal process of setting the conservation zone.

After years of meetings, identification of landowners and demarcation of land boundaries, the area was surveyed and the deed formalised.

Chairman of the Bismarck Ramu Group, Poin Caspar, challenged the villagers to adhere to the rules of the deed.

He said that the real work has just begun and that the success of conservation activities will depend on entirely on the goodwill of the community. The same sentiments were expressed by Trans-Gogol LLG President, Morris Bann who signed the deed on behalf of the local government.

Martyn Namorong was the winner of the 2011 Crocodile Prize for the Best Essay


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Arthur Williams, Lavongai & Cardiff

Ross - Here is one of several tapes mentioning Trans Gogol found at:

"Tape 6 [31:17] Until 1970-71 everything was untouched. Now all you see before you, this bush, it’s become like a desert. There were trees that once grew from the soil all the way to the mountain range.

[31:46] But today if you go around here and look into the rivers and the bush it’s not a good sight. That’s why all this time we have been suffering – there’s nothing here, absolutely nothing. I don’t know what to say.

[32:30] It was Dobon Turkop’s own father who naively sold logging rights to the Juam traditional lands when PNG’s industrial logging industry was beginning to boom. 

A Japanese company paid the government for huge tracts of rainforest here and then pulped the hardwood for paper. 
The clear-felled land was planted with non-native eucalypts and has since been through three harvests. 

The Juam people have been paid annual royalties they claim amount to little more than one kina per person...... 
A sum which won’t buy a loaf of bread. 

For three decades they’ve been forbidden to use their own land. Even untouched areas surrounding waterways are out of bounds for the hunting and subsistence farming on which Dobon’s people traditionally rely." 
I believe most logging was allowed in TFP areas only if reaforestry was carried out. But on Lavongai saw no tangible results of this in the three project areas.

One allegedly was going to plant 70 or 80 thousand cocoa but when I passed area just saw dying plants and nobody tending them.

The logger is supposed to selctively extract correct mature trees on one fortieth of the allotted area then move onto next fortieth and so on until 40 years later the logger returns to the original fortieth where there are now mature trees again.

But this never seemed to happen. I remember asking the driver of a huge bulldozer where he was told to make his road that week.

He replied, "Not told to go in any particular direction only go as fast as I can where I see good sized trees! So much for selective logging.

The modern rape of a fair country.

Ross Wilkinson

Martin - I believe the present actions taken by the Gogol villagers are good but my comment is in relation to generalisations in your article.

In 1975 at the commencement of JANT's timber felling operations in its 25 year lease, it did not undertake "clearfelling" of species in the Gogol Valley.

If it did, it would no longer be still operating in that area.

Under the terms of its lease, it was required to immediately reforest all areas that were felled.

This is a practice called "coppicing" that ensures the continuation of future supplies.

The lease provided for an initial cut of the primary rainforest and then two further harvests of the reforested valley.

Final planting was to be undertaken by the company so that the valley would be left completely reforested at the completion of the 25 year lease.

The government established a liaison group comprising Forestry, Treasury and District Administration to oversee JANT's compliance with the lease conditions and to ensure its dealings with Gogol villagers and workers were fair.

This also required Japanese workers to speak both English and Tok Pisin.

I can only speak in relation to my role as a member of this liaison group during the initial lease as I departed Madang and PNG in December 1981.

The system worked reasonably well and the lease conditions were generally complied with at that time.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)