402 views Exploring Mangrove Ecotourism: The Positive Impact of Rehabilitation and Restoration Efforts. - KEHATI KEHATI

Exploring Mangrove Ecotourism: The Positive Impact of Rehabilitation and Restoration Efforts.

Kepiting menjadi salah satu sumber pangan protein dari ekosistem mangrove di Kab. Donggala Prov. Sulawesi Tengah

  • Date:
    10 Jul 2023
  • Author:

The Mangrove ecosystem demonstrates a high proficiency in safeguarding coastal regions through its potent carbon absorption. Indonesia is the proud possessor of the largest expanse of mangroves, yet their importance is often overlooked, leading to substantial damage each year. It is unfortunate that the general populace fails to appreciate the role that such blue carbon ecosystems play in buffering the effects of climate change.


The mangrove forests, often known as tidal forests, grow along coastal areas’ tide lines. The process of rehabilitating these forests requires at least 10 years. This timeframe is influenced by factors such as the location of planting and potential threats.


Toufik Alansar, the Marine Ecosystem Manager at the KEHATI foundation, explains that the rehabilitation process passes through three distinct phases before it can yield beneficial impacts for both the local communities and as a form of mitigation.


During the early phase, the planted area starts to influence the water flow rate, encouraging the appearance of fish and macroinvertebrates, such as crabs and shrimp.
In the intermediate phase, one can observe a variety in biota, an increase in water saltiness levels, and detectible growth and survival of seeds.


Lastly, in the long-term phase, there is a noticeable increase in land cover, landscape connectivity, and organic material and nutrient providers. This phase also sees a wide range of comprehensive biota variants.


The KEHATI Foundation successfully implements three crucial elements in executing restoration efforts. It ensures favourable combinations of ecological, social and economic aspects for advantages, motivating them to perpetuate their campaigns for harmonious activities.


Issues in Mangrove Management


Several hurdles are being experienced in the effort to preserve mangroves. These problems widely range from limited funding and issues of land conversion, to problems around the jurisdiction and legislative control from the local to the national level. It is clear that the welfare of the local populace can only be enhanced through the concerted efforts of various stakeholder groups.


Toufik emphasizes that the local communities can greatly benefit economically by focusing on ecosystem protection. “By safeguarding the local ecosystem, we can promote sustainable development and economic prosperity,” stated Toufik.


The speaker further pointed out that the local community has benefitted significantly from the mangrove ecosystem. Taking the Palu community as an example, the initially underappreciated existence of the mangrove has proved beneficial. The fatal tsunami brought the realization to residents that the mangrove could act as an effective defense mechanism, as regions with good mangroves reported fewer casualties as compared to lesser-protected areas. In the aftermath of the disaster, the community members undertook efforts to restore and utilize the remnants of the mangroves.


The Village Tourism spot “Dewi Mangrove Sari” in Central Java, specifically located in Kaliwlingi Village, Brebes Regency, successfully pulls in an income of IDR 3-5 billion each year. This significant income stems from both local and international tourists.


Previously, the area where this tourist spot now thrives was an eroding pond. The livelihood of the local residents in Kaliwlingi Village disappeared along with it. As a result, a number of residents were motivated to take a stand against further abrasion by planting mangroves.


This initiative not only aimed at preventing abrasion, but also restoring the habitat of marine biota. The mangrove restoration project was launched in 2005 and received financial assistance from the KEHATI foundation.


Banten-Majene Learning Study


The Sultan Ageng Tirtayasa University (UNTIRTA) is among the academic institutions paying attention to the Mangrove. Collaboratively, in 2022, UNTIRTA, PT. Asahimas, and the KEHATI foundation embarked on a project involving the planting of 18,000 mangrove seeds. The initiative falls under PT. Asahimas’ programs aimed at restoring and mitigating the effects of mangrove devastation following the 2018 tsunami.


Between May 8-11, 2023, UNTIRTA conducted a study session involving participation from the Coastal Forest Conservation Community Group (KMPHP) of Mangrove Sari. The aim of this study session was to enhance the human resource capacity in managing, utilizing and preserving mangrove ecosystems.


Adi Susanto, a Faculty of Agriculture lecturer at UNTIRTA, emphasized the importance of this initiative. He specifically chose to involve participants with an interest in mangrove cultivation to encourage farming as a potential additional income source.


The KMPHP has successfully managed and utilized these ecosystems for over 20 years. It was hoped that the people of Banten would learn from this study session and bring innovative ideas to further develop the prospects of this ecological endeavor.


The participants acquired crucial knowledge and appreciated that mangrove ecosystems need to be valued, conserved, and efficiently used, keeping sustainability as a priority,” he remarked. The conservation of the Mangrove ecosystem has led to an ecological shift and furnished economic advantages to the local communities, implying a need for heightened individual understanding about the necessity of mangrove preservation.


“The reverberations of this heightened understanding will lead the community to realize that their endeavors will mature in the future,” Adi finally concluded.


The naturally stunning landscapes of the Sunda Strait hold great potential for the further development of mangrove ecotourism. The coastal mangroves along the Strait have captured the attention and interest of the community and various stakeholders, especially in the aftermath of a tsunami.


In light of the immense ecological and economic benefits these mangroves can provide, Toufik proposes the formation of a Mangrove Learning Center to facilitate the study, development, utility, and management of these critical ecosystems.


In West Sulawesi’s Majene, local champion Asiil Anwar was recognized with the prestigious Kalpataru award in 1993 for his valuable work in this field. Anwar played an instrumental role in establishing the Mangrove Learning Center in Majene, contributing to mangrove conservation efforts for over 30 years. His remarkable efforts have successfully attracted migratory pelicans and a variety of other bird species back to the Baluno coast.


In 2019, in recognition of the vital role these ecosystems play, the local government mandated the Baluno Mangrove as an Essential Ecosystem Area (EEA).


Mangrove management and utilization incorporate a variety of economic activities. These include crab and shrimp farming employing biofloc technology, salt boiling, and mangrove batik crafting. These initiatives have been successful in creating jobs for the local populace. For continued growth and advancement, there’s a need to capitalize on derivative product opportunities through stakeholder cooperation.


Mangrove development shows promising potential in the domain of ecotourism.


Furthermore, it can positively contribute to auxiliary service sectors, assuming the local community partners with local government and stakeholders. The potential economic benefits of the tourism sector motivates local communities to manage and safeguard the mangrove ecosystems effectively.