Centre for Environmental Law & Community Rights Inc.


Satellite imagery shows the loss of forest and an increase in roadbuilding over the past two years and residents of the Torricelli’s say that representatives of logging companies have been trying to secure permission to log the region’s forests. Image Credit: Mongabay

The Toricelli Mountain Range is located in the Sandaun Province and is home to some rare endemic species. The most notable is the Tenkile Tree Kangaroo (D. Scottae) which is currently in grave danger of facing extinction.

Due to the extension of logging concessions into the area, the usual breeding grounds of the endangered Tenikile are being destroyed putting their existence in threat.

The landowners residing within the Toricelli have taken many steps in collaboration with Tenkile Conservation Alliance (TCA) to preserve these endangered species and the virgin forest they live in. Amongst these steps is the establishment of a conservation area proposed to be called the Toricelli Mountain Range Conservation Area.

Despite the efforts by the Tenkile Conservation Alliance, to protect the area, the government is yet to officially designate what would be the Torricelli Mountain Range Conservation Area.

With the delay in the government’s action, logging has now reached new heights. As shown in the satellite image above, the logging operation is now creeping deeper and deeper into the forest. The loss of the forest means the loss of the endangered Tenkile Tree Kangaroo. In May 2021, communities voiced concern about road construction that was approaching the boundaries of the proposed conservation area and that the intended target may have been high-value timber species found within the region’s forests. A copy of the call to the government for action can be accessed here.

Investment in local communities and the protection of the forests that these communities provide have led to an apparent rise in tree kangaroo populations, but logging and other potentially destructive land use such as conversion to large-scale agriculture remain threats in the Torricelli and throughout Papua New Guinea.

The government has to be conscious about its sovereignty as a nation and protect our rich biodiversity. It is time the government acts on its word and puts an end to logging. This is one way to protect our unique biodiversity.

Read similar issues on this link: Toricelli in danger!

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