Teluk Bintuni Nature Reserve comprises a 450,000 ha. area at the western side of the ‘neck’ of Bird’s Head peninsula. The site is proposed to become a nature reserve and is regarded as one of the best developed and least disturbed mangrove areas in Indonesia.
The Bintuni Bay comprises a large sheltered bay, bordered by intertidal mudflats, sandbars and extensive mangrove areas, representing 10% of Indonesia’s total mangrove area. The mangrove forest is backed by a 5 km wide Nypa palm zone which is locally followed by freshwater swamp forests. Tropical lowland rainforest continues inland from the freshwater swamp zone.
Teluk Bintuni can only be visited by boat or plane with destination Babo or Bintuni. Both are served once a month by a ferry from western Indonesia or Fakfak.
It should be possible to find some kind of accommodation in one of the harbours in Teluk Bintuni.
PHPA, Jl. Pemuda 40, Sorong.
|Bintuni Bay, West Papua Province|
Why the Conservancy Selected This Site
In Indonesia’s West Papua Province, The Nature Conservancy is working with local partners to protect Bintuni Bay, which contains more than 1.1 million acres of mangroves-∙making it the world’s third largest mangrove area and the second largest in Asia.
Due to the rapid exploitation of mangroves throughout western Indonesia, Bintuni Bay’s mangroves probably represent 25% of those remaining in Indonesia. To date, Bintuni Bay’s mangroves have remained relatively untouched, particularly the 300,000 acres of the Bintuni Bay Nature Reserve.
This subtly beautiful forest area is a maze of creeks and river channels, with orchid- laden trees growing up to 130 feet in height and 5 feet in diameter.
Besides their innate beauty, the Bintuni Bay mangroves support the local economy and protect the bay’s important fisheries by acting as a natural nursery for crabs, fish, and shrimp. They also provide housing materials to local communities and act as a natural barrier to the huge banks of silt at the head of the bay. Unfortunately Bintuni Bay’s mangroves are increasingly threatened by overharvesting,logging, and clearing to make way for coastal shrimp farm facilities. Economic development in the Bintuni area is increasing due to a new liquid gas field in the bay, and the population is expanding rapidly.
Ironically, this new development might provide a lifeline for the Bintuni Bay Nature Reserve.
Bintuni’s rapid growth has led to the establishment of a new layer of local government, the Kabupaten (or district) Teluk Bintuni. Most environmental threats are local in origin and control from the central government is distant and ineffective, so the Conservancy is working with the new Kabupaten to develop a form of park management that respects local autonomy and allows for community involvement.
What the Conservancy Is Doing
In 2003, the Conservancy began consulting with local stakeholders and working with schoolteachers in the Bintuni area to raise conservation awareness in classrooms. We also provided training in Participatory Conservation Planning, a form of scientific planning that takes into account the needs and knowledge of local communities, to the government and local conservation groups.
In the next year, the Conservancy will build on this work by helping to develop a management plan for Bintuni Bay Nature Reserve that:
-≥ lists major biological and ecosystem targets;
-≥ includes local communities in a collaborative vision for protecting the Reserve;
-≥ outlines short-term and long-term management needs;
-≥ evaluates infrastructure and funding requirements; and,
-≥ devolves management responsibilities and authority to the Kabupaten government.