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More than Just Planting, Mangrove Rehabilitation Needs the Right Strategy

  • Date:
    15 Sep 2021
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Indonesia has the largest mangrove forest area in the world, namely 3,496,768 ha, spread across the coast of Aceh toPapua. Indonesia’s total mangrove area covers 22.4% of the world’s mangrove area. However, at the same time, Indonesia contributes the highest mangrove forest damage in the world. Many parties are interested with this phenomenon. Plenty of actions have been done to repair damages to the mangrove ecosystem. But, it is as if the issue of mangrove damage never ends. In addition to support, rehabilitation and restoration to the mangrove ecosystem requires the right strategy.


Some reports find failure in mangrove rehabilitation in Indonesia. One of the causes is the paradigm that mangrove ecosystem rehabilitation just means replanting mangrove seeds without sustainable treatment. In fact, rehabilitation program needs sound steps, starting from planning to evaluation.


The Marine Ecosystem Program Manager of KEHATI, Yasser Ahmed, looks at the importance of mentoring in mangrove ecosystem rehabilitation programs carried out by several CST activists in Indonesia. Repairing mangrove ecosystem is not as easy as turning the palm of your hand, planting seeds that just leaving them. Mangrove ecosystem rehabilitation requires intensity and engagement of a number of parties, particularly the community living around the rehabilitation area. “Mangrove damages are linked to human activities, especially by the surrounding community. Hence, the rehabilitation must also involve them,” said Yasser.


Planting mangrove must consider 3 important aspects, namely ecological, social, and economy. Ecologically, mangrove rehabilitation needs to consider the land condition with the appropriate type of planted mangrove. This is so that the mangrove seeds can survive and adapt to the planting location. This is called mangrove zoning. Indonesia has the highest mangrove type varieties in the world. However, when a certain mangrove type is planted not on its habitat, despite still located within the mangrove ecosystem, the planted mangrove will not grow optimally, and can even die.


Socially, it is important to engage the surrounding community in mangrove rehabilitation activities. CSR activists must place the local community as both the subject and partner to achieve their mutual goal. From the beginning, all parties must have a mindset that responsibility and success must be carried and felt together, said Yasser.


Regarding the economic aspect, mangrove rehabilitation program can increase community income through the aquaculture activity, ecotourism, and managing mangrove fruit to be the unique local food. KEHATI Foundation has successfully developed mangrove rehabilitation areas into tourist destinations, including Pandansari Brebes Village in Central Java, Binanga Village in Majene District in South Sulawesi, and several other areas currently under development.


“Overall, the accuracy in creating the concept of mangrove rehabilitation program is the key to successfully rehabilitate mangrove. This starts with developing plans, implementation, and monitoring as well as evaluating the rehabilitation program by paying attention to the ecological, social, and economic aspects,” conclude Yasser.