on Sustainable Development in East Timor
Konferensi Pembangunan Berkelanjutan di Timor Lorosa'e
Presentation at Conference on Sustainable Development
Mario N. Nunes, Manger
ETTA Forestry Unit
I. Geographical condition
a. Location, boundaries, and range of area
The island of East Timor extends from longitude 123°25¢ to 127°19¢E, and from latitude 8º17¢ to 10º22¢S. The total area of the land of East Timor is approximately 14,609 km², which includes the mainland area of 13,679 km², the region of Oecussi, 78 km², Atauro Island, 141 km², and Jaco Island, 11 km². East Timorís boundaries are as follows:
- In the north, the boundary of Wetar Strait with Ombai Strait.
- In the east, the boundary with the Maluku Strait.
- In the south, the boundary with the Timor Sea.
- In the west, the boundary with Nusa Tenggara Timor, the eastern region of Indonesia.
A mountain range runs from the east to
the west of East Timor. The mountainous terrain results in many watersheds
and streams, making transportation very difficult. The land is made up
of limestone, coral, thick clayey soil, sand and a small amount of volcanic
origin. In East Timor there are seven mountains with heights over 2000m
as seen in the following table. The highest mountain with a height of 2,963
metres is the Tatamailau peak of the Ramelau Range in the Ainaro district.
|Name of Mountain||District||Height Above Sea Water|
As a broad outline, the watersheds of East Timor can be divided into two areas; northern and southern. Of the many rivers in East Timor, the following rivers flow all year round; the Laklo river in the district of Manatuto, the Seical river in Baucau district, the Bulobo, Marobo, Malibaka and Nunura rivers in Bobonaro district, Gleno river in Ermera district, Karau Ulun in Manufahi district, the rivers of Dilor, Uca, Uwetoko, Bebui and Irabere in Viqueque district, the Loes river in Liquica, and the Tono river in Oecussi.
Overall the climate in East Timor is classified as tropical. The minimum temperature range is 18-21°C while the maximum temperature range is 26-32°C. In the north (as far east as Baucau) the rainy season begins in November and is usually accompanied by a westerly monsoon; the months of May and October are months of change from dry to wet season. In the east and the south the situation is different - the rainy season is at its height in April. The dry season occurs during May, and the rainy season returns at the beginning of June until August. When it is winter in Australia (August to October), sometimes the temperature in East Timor can be as low as 18°c. This is also true of the opposite scenario. When it is summer in Australia, the temperature is high on the coast of East Timor, even in the rainy season.
a. Ocean and Coastal Ecosystem
East Timorís seas are the habitat of many species of fish, including fish that have high economic value such as tuna, skipjack, mackerel, and snapper. These species can be exploited sustainably to support the national economy. On the coasts, especially in the north and east, there are exposed coral reefs that are a source of food and shelter for many kinds of sea organisms, and are also a valuable natural tourist attraction.
There are mangroves on the northern coast of East Timor that are still intact, and provide habitat for several species of sea birds, bats, and fish. The egg laying areas of several species of turtle are found on several beaches such as Tutuala beach and on Jaco Island.
c. Inland Habitat
In the inland regions of East Timor, there are differences in the plant life between the north, the south and east, and the mountain regions. The northern areas are dominated by plant species such as Eucalyptus alba, Tamarindus indicus, and several species of tree that grow in dry land areas.
In the east and south the plant species are more varied, dominated by Canarium, Red Wood (Pterocarpus indicus), Charia (Taona sureni) and other types of commercial wood such as teak (Tectona grandis). There are also several species of orchid, and the undergrowth is full of variation.
The mountain areas and uplands are dominated by Eucalyptus urophylla and several species of ferns. There are several species that are found in all regions, including Sandalwood (Santalum album) and Casuarina (Casuarina equisetifolia).
The fauna of East Timor consists of several species of mammals such as; Deer (Cervus timorensis), cuscus, wild pigs, and monkeys; reptiles such as crocodiles, snakes and lizards; birds such as lorikeets, cockatoos, land and sea eagles and pigeons.
Thus if we wish to develop a better future for East Timor, the biophysical environment and natural resources of East Timor must be given attention so as to avoid further destruction and to repair environmental damage.
25-31 2001 CSD: Introduction to Conference on Sustainable Development
Article up-dated Aug 3
" ... the human system is an integral part of the ecosystem. A society is sustainable only if both the human condition and the condition of the ecosystem are satisfactory or improving. If either is unsatisfactory or worsening, the society is unsustainable.
... The livelihoods of East Timorese people depend on a healthy and productive environment. All people and industries for example, depend on a healthy water supply. Agriculture, fisheries, and tourism also depend on the environment. To meet peopleís needs now and for future generations, East Timorís natural resource base must be conserved and improved." Mr Jose Lobato, Timor Aid
25-31 2001 CSD: Program for Conference on Sustainable Development
Summary up-dated Aug 3
"The 22 workshops on sustainable development issues first identified 4 priority issues and then listed strategies to address them. ...
Summary includes: Sustainable Economic Development; Education -at all levels of society; Capacity Building -at all levels of society; Transparent and Integrated Planning Process; Clear Policies -developed in consultation with the community; Transparent System of Regulations, Enforcement and Penalties; Recognition of Traditional Structures and Knowledge." Conference on Sustainable Development in East Timor
25-31 2001 CSD: Recommendations of Conference
on Sustainable Development Added Aug 3
"In addition to the many specific suggestions arising from the Conference papers and workshops, seven overarching recommendations are made. These represent important starting points to begin the journey towards sustainable development in Timor Lorosaíe." Conference on Sustainable Development in East Timor
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