Fifty-two clans on Manus Island recently renewed conservation agreements to protect 43,000 hectares of forested land.
The renewal of these agreements, that were initiated in 2014 with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), represent an ongoing commitment by local communities to conserve two-thirds of the Great Central Forest on Manus for their long-term livelihood sustenance.
According to WCS last year, after six months of community consultations, 52 clans renewed their commitments to conservation by signing agreements with the society to protect the forest.
The agreements cover nine communities from the north and the south coasts of the island across two local-level government areas.
Felix Chanoan, a clan leader who signed the agreement, said: “We need to make the best use of what nature provides. With ongoing mining exploration and logging operation in the area, we need to make sure our forest is protected over the long term.
Provincial administrator Oka Nungu said: “This initiative is also helping us to achieve one of the objectives of the Manus Integrated Development Plan 2018-22.”
WCS PNG country director Dr Ambroise Brenier said the conservation agreements had proven to be a useful tool to assist landowners safeguard their forests so they could benefit from environmental services, including enhancing their resilience to climate change and climate-induced disasters.
WCS Melanesia regional director Dr Stacy Jupiter said: “WCS applauds the Manus indigenous communities for their renewed commitment to protect one of the world’s key biodiversity areas.”