WSC PNG has continued its work on clan boundary mapping (CBM) in the central region of Manus Island.
The purpose of the mapping is to assist local communities to protect the last remaining intact tropical rainforest that occurs in the central Manus.
Other parts of the island have been extensively and indiscriminately logged in the past two decades.
WCS PNG’s GIS officer, Jacob Kimagl spent three months from February to April in Manus carrying out clan boundary mapping.
His work covered the north coast to the south coast of central Manus including the thickly forested hill regions. The boundary mapping activity on the north coast covered Andra Island, Tulu 1, Tulu 2 and Lahapau villages. On the other side of the island towards the south coast, villages mapped included Pelipowai, Pelipatu, Timonai and Kupoanou villages, as well as the inland village of Djekal.
Jacob said the advancement in technology with the use of hand-held Global Positioning System (GPS) units in the field and the Geographical Information Systems (GIS) devices at the WCS field office in Lorengau has enabled the task of capturing, storing, processing and performing spatial analysis on geographical data collected from the field. It has made his work easier.
Local people representing major clans and sub-clans were involved in the mapping work. They checked and edited the maps and ensured that landmarks, rivers and creeks were correctly named. They also ensured that areas featured on the maps were located on the right places.
Despite the advantages of technology, Jacob encountered many challenges with poor communication, rough terrain and thick forest cover, and disputed clan boundaries that require qualified land mediators to resolve.
Individual clan boundaries were mapped and hard-copy maps were produced and distributed to the clan leaders.
The maps have also helped clan leaders solve some of the overdue land disputes.