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Indonesian Mangroves Important for Global Climate

Madrid, Spain, 2019 - Indonesia has managed to reverse its past mangrove degradation trend. From the beginning of 2019 to the end of 2019, Indonesia's mangrove coverage has expanded to 3.56 million hectares. The key to the mangrove restoration was a multi-stakeholder partnership involving the government, academics, local communities, businesses, NGOs, and the Navy.

This was revealed during a panel session on "Mangrove Rehabilitation Acceleration in Indonesia" held at the Indonesian Pavilion at the Climate Change Conference in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday (12/10/2019).

At the conference, Agus Justianto, the Head of Research and Innovation Agency of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry delivered a special speech from the Minister of Environment and Forestry Siti Nurbaya from Jakarta about the importance of mangrove rehabilitation.

The Director of Environment and Disaster Coordinating from the Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Investments, Sahat M Pangabean, explained that efforts to improve mangrove management would continue to be strengthened. Among the ways is by improving coastal and maritime planning throughout Indonesia. Furthermore, he said, Indonesia also establishes marine conservation areas.

Mr. Sahat also added, "Additionally, the multi-stakeholder partnerships were strengthened to support mangrove restoration. As a result, the mangroves area managed to increase to 3.56 million hectares".

Not only is it expanding, but the monitored mangroves in good condition have also increased —2.37 million ha in good condition and 1.19 million ha in poor condition. "The total area of Indonesia's mangrove areas is currently 59 times the size of Madrid," said Sahat.

Navy Colonel Arif Badrudin, a Senior Officer from Strategic Operations at the Indonesian Navy Headquarters, said that the Navy is committed to helping restore mangroves across Indonesia. The navy Colonel also added that not only does mangrove forests protect various biodiversity, it also benefits the people and functions as fortifications against tsunamis.

"In 2019, as part of the Navy's 74th Anniversary, we have planted 300,074 mangrove trees throughout Indonesia," Colonel Arif said.

The Executive Director of the Belantara Foundation, Sri Mariati, said that the Foundation supports Indonesia's measures to rehabilitate mangroves, especially in the east coast cluster of Sumatra. Efforts made by the Belantara Foundation involve 8 villages covering an area of 51.16 ha. "Based on community involvement, the mangrove rehabilitation initiative that we have developed is hoped to strengthen communities' resilience from climate change," she said.

Dr. Sri reminded that mangroves need to be restored because they are able to absorb and store large amounts of carbon, which means it is useful in controlling climate change. The Ministry of Environment and Forestry of Indonesia (KLHK) data shows that secondary mangrove forests are still capable of storing 54.1 to 182.5 tons of carbon/ha.

Sri Mariati said the mangrove recovery activities carried out were not just mangrove plantings, but also the utilization of sustainable mangrove products and ecotourism. The Belantara Foundation will continue to support mangrove rehabilitation until it reaches 200 ha in a number of targeted villages by 2024.

Meanwhile, Minister Siti Nurbaya stated that she was delighted with the growing mangrove areas in Indonesia. According to the Minister, mangroves store 3 to 5 times more carbon than tropical forests. The mangrove protection effort, which is characterized by blue carbon, is also in line with this year's climate change conference theme, Blue COP, which refers to efforts to maintain greenhouse gases in the ocean.

Minister Siti stated that as a form of commitment in protecting mangroves, in mid-2019, Indonesia became the sponsor for a mangrove protection resolution at the 4th UN Agency for the Environment (UNEA) meeting in Nairobi, Kenya. "Indonesia is also promoting the development of a global mangrove center," she said.

Source: BeritaSatu