Field Visit to Bintuni

By: Erianto Indra Saputra | 16 November 2017


As part of the Y-1 activities of UMCES/IPB-NASA Tropical Peat Fire Project, the team visited Bintuni Regency, West Papua to explore the opportunity to conduct peat fire research there. The co-director of the project, Prof. Dr. Bambang Hero Saharjo (Faculty of Forestry IPB) lead the team, accompanied by Dr. Erianto Indra Putra (Faculty of Forestry IPB), Dr. Grahame Applegate (Univ. of Sunshine Coast, Australia), and Andri Thomas (BOSF, Central Kalimantan). The team left Jakarta to Manokwari on 11 November 2017 and arrived safely on the early morning of 12 November 2017. After having the opening meeting with the Vice Dean of the University of Papua, the team continued the trip to Bintuni Regency on 13 November 2017 by using small plane operated by Susi Air (Fig. 1). Three faculty staff from Faculty of Forestry, University of Papua, joined the team to Bintuni. They are Benny Rettob (Dean), Wolfram Mofu (Head of the Department) and Alfredo Wanma (senior lecturer).

Fig. 1. A small plane that taking the team from Manokwari to Bintuni. Operated by Susi Air, total passengers of the flight are approximately 12 persons.

The team had a meeting with the Regent of Bintuni Regency and his staff on 13 November 2017 before leaving to the field to explore the existence of the peat in Bintuni. The regent was happy and welcomed the coming of the team to Bintuni Regency and gave an order to the Head of Yakora District to help the team conducting the research (Fig. 2)

The team finally found the peat fire on their second day, 14 November 2017. The peat fire was found under sago plantation in Yakora District. It was still burned with some smoke released from the peat due to the peat fire (Fig. 4). To reach the area, the team should face more than five hours’ drive using the 4-wheel drive car, passing more than 20 km muddy roads and 4 small rivers that having no bridge on it, and finally using the small boat (Fig,3). What a journey!!, but the team were satisfied with the result as they found the potential area for implementing the project in Yakora District.

 Fig, 2. With the Regent of Bintuni Regency and his staff before leaving to the field

Fig. 3. The team in a boat to the peat area near the river as the final destination of the trip

The team flew to Manokwari from Bintuni Airport on the morning of 15 November 2017. In Manokwari, Bambang, Grahame, and Indra gave the general lecture on peat fire in Faculty of Forestry, the University of Papua, attended by undergraduate and graduate student of Faculty of Forestry. Some staff and researchers have also attended the class (Fig. 5). After the class, the team had a meeting with the Rector of the University of Papua (Fig. 6).  The Rector appreciate and welcome all of the initiatives to conduct the research in West Papua, in collaboration with the University of Papua. Bambang, Indra, Grahame, and Thomas headed back to Jakarta on the morning of 16 November 2018.

Fig. 4. Big sago tree in the peat area near the river in Yakora District (left) and peat fire under the sago tree (right)

Fig. 5. Group picture after the general lecture in Faculty of Forestry, University of Papua

Fig. 6. The team taking a picture with the Rector of University of Papua