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General Geography of Banaule Village

Updated on July 28, 2015

Banaule Sun Rise 2013

View of Hoskins Airport from Banaule Beach
View of Hoskins Airport from Banaule Beach | Source

MAPPING THE PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY OF BANAULE VILLAGE

INTRODUCTION

Banaule Village is one of the villages found along the northern coast of West New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea. It is found among the lowest population density villages in the province. The village is approximately 5km long with a width of more than 10km heading south towards the southern edge of the extinct Mt Otto Volcano. The approximate population of the village is a total of 900 people with scattered residential areas spread across the Kimbe-Hoskins Highway. These people are classified under specific 9 specific clans in the village. Religion in the area is mainly Christianity with four different existing churches that comprise of the Roman Catholic as the leading church agency, followed by the Assemblies of God, the Sabbath Church and the Governing Church. This article main objective is to discuss the general physical geography of Banaule Village which can become the foundation of any future research or baseline assessments for development within the scope of the village’s natural environment.

Firstly, the discussion will be focused on the existing activities that dominate the entire village area then pointing out some of the most important geographical features in the village that needs consideration while developing the current status of the general environment and promoting sustainable development in the area. Finally, recommendations would be made to protect the environment through mitigation measures, promote sustainable development through adaptation measures or address environmental issues doing it a different way.


PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY

Physical Geography is the study of the physical geographical features of an environment. This looks into the general landscape of the area encompassing the types of landforms including the general vegetation composition. In this section of the article we will be looking into some of the most important physical geographical features of Banaule Village from an indigenous Environmental Scientist point of view.

LANDSCAPE

Located on the northern coast of West New Britain Province, a 10km drive West from Hoskins Airport and a 20km drive East of Kimbe Town is where Banaule Village is situated. The general physical landscape of the area comprises of several significant landform features which are very important features to the origin and existence of the people of Banaule.

According to the Bebbeli Tribe’s history, their jurisdiction boundary started where Hoskins Airport is Known as Kato in their language and ended on where now is known Wandoro Graveyard. However, this article will discuss the physical environment of the current location of the village. On the northern part of the West New Britain landmass, Banaule Village is approximately 1780 hectares flat adjacent to the famous Kimbe Bay.

Mountains are found on the south-eastern part of the village. These mountains include Mt Matalelok according to PNGs maps and are known as Mataloloa by the people of the area, Mt Otto also known as Mt Padokkeverama and small ridges along the peripheral ranges. According to the volcano map of Papua New Guinea, Mt Otto is one of the extinct volcanoes found in West New Britain Province and this is found just 10km south of the village while Mt Pago, the active volcano is found another 12km south-east of Mt Otto.

FRESH WATER CATCHMENT & BASINS

The general hydrological sphere of Banaule village as a whole very sustainable when we look at the available water catchments in the natural environment and this does not mean anything to do with the water accessibility, this discussion is about water availability.

This is how the hydrological sphere of Banaule Village is mapped:

According to the map provided below, the village is surrounded by water catchments ranging from the west to the east direction. The general water catchment with the peak point at the top of both Mt Otto and Mt Matalelok branches down to the existing water systems with Ko River, designating Buluma Bridge is found on the western part of the village followed by Wali Creek, Vavulu Creek, Gilivu Creek, Dalavu Creek, Karonen Creek, Kiki Creek and on the far edge between Hoskins Airport and Banaule Village is Gavuvu River with it main source from the Mountains of Banaule Village.

Apart from these general water catchments, the water table serves as another source of water system for the people of Banaule Village. Since the inception of the oil palm development in the province there has been improvements in the livelihood of the people who then come up with the additional groundwater sources. Unlike, other parts of the province, Banaule Village has cold springs instead of hot springs and gayer.

Matanabulbulu Springs located on a central point just adjacent to the sea and in a north-west direction from the main Catholic Church ground.

Banaule village is potentially water rich region with water catchment systems and basins ranging from streams to creeks to springs and finally to ground water systems.

VEGETATION

West New Britain as part of Papua New Guinea, the tropical country is well vast with the natural tropical vegetation. These ranges from the vegetation of both lower and higher altitude in the region and these are much more connected to the wet and dry season of the year with slight combination from the monsoon seasons in certain parts of the country.

Banaule village is comprised of natural tropical rainforest vegetation in origin; however, the inception of new developments into the province has brought dramatic changes. There are three vegetation components that cover the soil surface of the area and these are classified into two main groups:

(1) The Indigenous Vegetation and,

(2) The Modified Vegetation.

These three vegetation component comprised of the natural virgin rainforest found in between Mt Matalelok and Mt Otto, while the modified or introduced vegetation species are oil palm and coconut plantations. The introduced species are found on low lands while higher grounds are more naturally in vegetation. Environmentally oriented, the people of Banaule village had decided to make a buffer zone along the coastline protecting the beach front and thus, another existing group of vegetation are found along the coastline and these are flora species along the beach.

FLORA & FAUNA

The biosphere of Banaule Village supports different forms of life as anywhere else in this one and only life giving planet. There are different species of plants and animals within the biosphere of the village and these are can be classified into two main groups:

(1) The Natural Species and;

(2) The introduced or modified species.

The general ecosystem is more richly supporting to the growth of plants and one of the most important factors is the rich volcanic soil, optimum sunlight and most importantly the all year around availability of water.

Natural species ranges from huge trees in the natural rainforest down to the mosses and ferns on the forest floor. Some species in the area are yet to be identified as there have never been researches done on the vegetation species within the area.

Modified species of plants in the village may include the cash crops as cocoa, coconut, vanilla and oil palm to which oil palm is the dominant species. In addition, most of the garden food crops are introduced species.

Banaule village in general has a general outlook of plant species just that of any other villages in West New Britain Province.

COASTAL ENVIRONMENT

Unlike the interior parts of West New Britain Province, Banaule village is also a coastal village. The physical status of Banaule Beach is 99% natural with less than one percent improvements. Most of the population are centred along the Kimbe-Hoskins Highway preserving the beach environment.

The main human activities that can be found on the coastal environment are small traditional hats used mainly in daytime. Dami Beach is the only modification part of environment with the famous Dami Guest Houses in the area.

MARINE ENVIRONMENT

The marine environment is just that of the famous Kimbe Bay environment. Main small islands found in front of the beach are estimated to be 10-15 km away from the coastlines. The reefs on the other hand range from the shorelines to where the islands are situated.

THE VILLAGE SETTINGS

The village is geographically dissected into different parts with designated names and these include the following names:

(1) Dami

(2) Bikpeles

(3) Tamilikoa

(4) Mamu

(5) Dalavu

(6) Kaus and;

(7) Kiki

(8) Dami

Starting from the west direction at Dami to Kiki is the layout of the dissected parts.

MAIN ECONOMIC ACTIVITY

West New Britain Province known by oil palm development is economically driven by income generated by this project. This has trickled down to the villages under the village oil palm scheme where people in the rural earn their regular income through selling their oil palm fruit produce to New Britain Palm Oil Limited, the main oil palm company in the province.

In Banaule village this benefit has trickled down to small home based businesses as canteen, bakery and many other more to mention.

The village is linked by road to the main town of Kimbe, the airport of Hoskins. Thus, economical benefits have already reached the village as a positive impact of development in the province.

The Impacts

On economical basis, oil palm is one of the most sustainable means of earning income as the flow of income is renewable every fortnight. The oil palm development scheme mean no economic harm to the village as the only impacts that may be present are environmental and social implications which are minimal, but must be considered.

  • Environmental Impacts

The main environmental impacts are connected with the daily activities of the people back in the village. Based on the fact that 88% of the total population of Papua New Guinea lives in rural settings and that comprise of the large number of people who one way or the other do not have access to formal education, contributing fluctuation in interests over current issues that are affecting the country. As people back in the village continue to carry on their lives with activities as burning bushes for food gardens, felling of natural vegetation as clearance for the gardens.

In addition to that the development of oil palm into the village has also brought dramatic impacts on the general vegetation settings of Banaule village. These include removal of natural tree species with the substitution of oil palm trees taking large amount of land areas.

  • Social Impacts

Social Impacts of comes about as a result of changes that facilitates its influencing phase. In the case of Banaule village, oil palm development in the village is the major contributor towards social changes and impacts that are faced daily by the people back in the village.

The economy of the village in the past was dominated by coconut through the copra production; however, the story turned into oil palm as the cash crop became dominant over the past 15 years. Regular income through oil palm though potentially beneficial for the people in terms of financial security, it also serves as the source to many social problems. Given the power through earning money from the oil palm, people tend to be on the upper hand, doing things the way they do without considering the prevailing norms of the society, thus ending up with all sorts of social challenges faced today.

CONCLUSIONS

Banaule village is one of the villages located along the northern coast of West New Britain Province. Provided that is found within the zone of the tropical climate, there enough evidence showing general flora and fauna species within the ecosystems that bound the general environment of the village.

There is little physical evidence on the general environmental impacts related to the dominant oil palm development activities in the village. However, there is great evidence that species are becoming rare as more of the natural environment is cleared paving way for the development of oil palm blocks. This major economic activity though positively sustains the internal economy of the village, also contributes too many uprising social problems and most of them were related to the abuse of income generated from oil palm. In conclusion, Banaule village is still a mixture of coastal and highland ecosystems in relation to the general physical geography settings.


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