Indonesia’s Jurassic Park and Environmental Valuation

Rinca Island (Photo by Azis Pradana on Unsplash)

Hey you guys!

So last semester I took a class called “Economic Valuation of Ecosystem Services.” One of the assignments that we needed to submit and present was to find a news on the internet and correlate it with environmental valuation and how the valuation can help in this regards. As someone who is really interested in environmental economics, I was, of course, really enjoyed the class and the assignments.

In this post I would like to tell you a bit about the paper that I have wrote in 2020. So here you go, the short version of my assignment:

Komodo National Park, which aims to conserve the unique Komodo dragon and its habitat, is located in the center of Indonesia archipelago at East Nusa Tenggara Province. However, the government unveiled controversial plans to turn part of the site (Rinca island) into a Jurassic Park-style tourist attraction as a premium tourism site in October 2019. In addition, it is reported that the Komodo dragon will be lured into the site after the project is finished as the main attraction of the island.

This project will damage the overall ecosystem of the island due to landscape changes and concrete heavy system. This, of course, will affect the Komodo dragons’ survival rate and behavior. For instance, the intentional feeding will make the accustom to receiving food from humans and act aggressive towards human. Furthermore, this project might contaminate groundwater from drilling wells and produce CO2 emissions from diesel generator. This project affects not only wildlife, but also locals. Despite the opposition by many, this project is still ongoing and is predicted to be finished by June 2021.

The government did not provide the monetary value projection which will be gained from this project and there is no information on the value of the damaged ecosystem. In other words, there is no information that can be used to compare the two. Hence, environmental valuation can help the decision-makers to measure the effects of environmental change on monetary scale. In this case, cost benefit analysis (CBA) can’t be done as it is typically conducted before a project is implemented and it is unlikely that the government suddenly decide to stop the construction. Therefore, technical use can be applied to assess the natural resource damage after the project is completed. In addition, informative use to see the value of the national park in general can also be done to increase awareness of the value of nature.

If you wanna find out more about the news, you could read it here:

  1. BBC: Viral photo sparks concerns about Indonesia’s ‘Jurassic Park’
  2. TEMPO: Facts Behind the Jurassic Park-esque Project at Komodo’s Habitat
  3. TEMPO: Locals Strongly Reject ‘Jurassic Park’ Project at Komodo National Park Area
  4. Jakarta Post: Govt denies ‘Jurassic Park’ claims amid controversy surrounding Rinca Island project
  5. ABC Australia: Indonesia’s Jurassic Park-inspired tourist attraction worries Komodo dragon fans

(This academic paper was written while studying the M.Sc. “Environmental Management” at Christian-Albrechts Universität (CAU) in Kiel, Germany)

Cheers,

Kemmy

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