Papua New Guinea: has created its first national conservation area

Papua New Guinea has created its first national conservation area. Environmentalists hope that the YUS Conservation Area will begin a new pattern in Papua New Guinea—and around the world. Unique in structure, the park is owned by 35 surrounding indigenous villages which have agreed unanimously to prohibit hunting, logging, mining, and other development within the park. The villages have also created a community organization that will oversee management of the park.

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The 10,000 villagers found partners in Wooland Park Zoo in Seattle,
Conservation International, and National Geographic. The conservation
organizations spent twelve years working with locals and the Papua New
Guinea government to establish the YUS Conservation Area. The reserve
is an acronym named after three major rivers that run through it, the
Yopno, Uruwa, and Som of the Huon Peninsula.

“This new conservation area shows how much good can be accomplished when governments and people work together,” said Conservation International President Russell A. Mittermeier, who visited the area last year. “Hopefully, other tropical forest nations will follow this example of simultaneously combating climate change and conserving the ecosystems on which people depend, and the international community will embrace a climate change treaty that compensates the carbon sequestration value of such protected forests.”

Conservation International and TKCP plan to keep working with the government and local communities to create more conservation areas in the country. With YUS as a model, the task may be far easier this time around.

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