Local community perceptions of change and climate variability in tropical forests of Papua (Indonesia)

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According to local people in Mamberamo Raya Regency (in Indonesia’s province of Papua), there have been three types of major events related to climate variability in the past 10 years – flash …

According to local people in Mamberamo Raya Regency (in Indonesia’s province of Papua), there have been three types of major events related to climate variability in the past 10 years – flash flooding, extreme heat, and strong winds. The local people have strategies for adapting to climate variability, and given that there is no local meteorological station, their detailed knowledge is an important complementary source of information. This presentation suggests that the similarities and gaps between local knowledge and technical knowledge should be used to direct future research.

CIFOR-CIRAD scientist Manuel Boissière, together with CIFOR colleague Michael Padmanaba, gave this presentation at a session titled ‘Traditional ecological knowledge and resilience in the context of global environmental change’ at the 13th Congress of the International Society of Ethnobiology, held on 20-25 May 2012 in Montpellier, France.

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  • 1. Local  Community  Percep2ons  of  Change  and  Climate   Variability  in  Tropical  Forests  of  Papua  (Indonesia)    ICE  2012,  Montpellier,  21-­‐25  May  2012   Manuel  Boissière,  Bruno  Locatelli,  Douglas  Sheil,  Michael  Padmanaba  ,  ErmayanD  
  • 2. Site  descrip2on   YOKE   Mamberamo   Papua   Indonesia  
  • 3. Site  descrip2on   Some  numbers:   -­‐   Mamberamo  Raya   YOKE   Regency:  2,8  million   hectare     -­‐   90%  natural  forest   (swamp,  montane,   Mamberamo   mangrove,  lowland)     -­‐   Mamberamo-­‐Foja   Wildlife  Reserve:  +-­‐  2   Papua  million  hectares   Indonesia     -­‐   PopulaDon:  about   19,000  inhabitants,   culDvators,  hunter   gatherers,  sago   collectors     -­‐   Threats:  logging   (>600,000  ha),  coal   mining  project,  dam   project  
  • 4. Introduc2on  •  Why  quesDons  on  percepDon  of  CC  maQer?    •  What  differences  between  scien2fic  and  local   knowledge  about  seasonality,  climate  variability   and  climate?    •  Seasonality  =  normal  variaDon  in  weather   during  an  average  year    •  Climate  variability  =  deviaDon  from  average    •  Climate  change  =  long-­‐term  trend  in  climate,   from  decades  to  millions  of  years.  
  • 5. Methods  •  FGD  part  of  a  broader   research  •  4  groups  of  women,  men   of  different  age  per   village  •  Household  surveys  •  ClimaDc  data:  no  local   meteorological  staDon,   database  WorldClimCL25   (mean  climate  based  on   interpolaDon  of  weather   staDon  data)      
  • 6. Seasonality   Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec Papasena Perception Climate data   Kwerba Perception Climate data Blue  =  wet   Burmeso Perception Orange  =  dry   Climate data   White  =  unclear     Metaweja Perception Climate data Yoke Perception Climate data!
  • 7. Climate  variability    •  Recorded  inter-­‐annual  variability  is  relaDvely  minor.    •  Precipita2on/temperature:  lower  coefficient  of  inter-­‐annual   variaDon  than  70%/95%  of  other  places  in  the  world  with  similar   climate.    •  Local  people:  three  major  events  related  to  climate  variability  in  the   last  10  years:  extreme  heat,  strong  winds,  and  flash  floods.      
  • 8. Future  changes  Climate  Models  Temperatures:  Increasing   Annual  precipitaDons:  ?  Local  Percep2on:  No  perceived  change  
  • 9. How  do  people  adapt  to  clima2c  events?  Village Event Coping strategyBurmeso Dry season Use spades to break hard soil, same techniques for cultivation Stay in the forest, in small settlements, seeking shade under trees Flood Temporarily relocate to higher ground Plant only short-term crops: reduce the risk of losing produceKwerba Long rain Temporarily relocate to higher ground. Gardens are moved, old flooded gardens still used afterwards. Roof tiles replaced with grass or Pandanus leaves Long Rain call rituals   drought   Easier to catch fish (clearer water) Moving  Metaweja Floods   Temporarily relocate far from the main rivers Gardens moved to higher ground   PlanDng     Annual crops harvested before next rainy season Streams change directions and locations of natural fishponds change     Taboos to prevent floods: no gardens planted in sacred mountain Rituals  and  taboo   Taboo against planting near the river: avoid crops swept away Other  strategies   Gnemo decreasing and replaced by fern leaves as wild vegetable DroughtPapasena Floods Gardens and hunting areas moved to higher ground1&2 Houses built on higher stilts Droughts Plant cassava, fast growing crops Hunt in areas not affected, near gardensYoke Dry season Go further looking for drinking water (not salty) Gardens are not moved Damaged houses repaired together with whole community!
  • 10. Beyond  climate:  percep2on  of  other  changes   160   140   1.  Why  are  forests   2.  How  are  forest  areas   120   important?   changing?   100   Responses     80   152   60   40   88   73   20   42   34   16   0   Food   Ecosystem   ConstrucDon   Agriculture   Shelter   For  future   services   generaDon   80   70   60   3.  What  causes  forest  Number  of  answers   50   cover  change?   40   72   30   59   49   20   40   10   18   12   10   10   8   0   Clima2c  events  NOT  perceived  cause  of  forest  cover  change  
  • 11. Discussion  &  conclusion  •  Meteorological  data:  general  informaDon  on  climate  variability.    •  Local  people:  more  detailed  and  locally  relevant  informaDon  on   changes.  •  They  react  to  changes  that  does  not  include  “climate  change”  =>   respond  to  climate  variability  and  to  non  clima2c  events  (economic,   poliDcal)  •  Local  knowledge  =  complementary  source  of  informa2on  for   analysing  extreme  events  (floods  and  droughts),  and  consequences.    •  Future  research  and  adapta2on  programs  should  use  the  similariDes   between  local  and  technical  knowledge  (engagement  in  common   acDviDes)  and  the  gaps  as  direcDon  for  further  clarificaDon.    
  • 12. Manuel  Boissière  (m.boissiere@cgiar.org)