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Indonesia's Urgent Need to Restore its Mangrove Forests

COMMUNITY | 20 May 2021
Photos: Yayasan Konservasi Alam Nusantara, Topik Hidayat/YKAN

There are only three million hectares of mangroves left in Indonesia, down drastically over the last 30 years. It may seem a lot but there are many threats, and collective action is urgently needed to save them. People of Jakarta, your attention can be directed to Muara Angke Wildlife Reserve, one of the remaining mangrove ecosystems in the capital. We need you to help. 

Mangrove ecosystems are the most productive ecosystems on earth that provide many important functions, such as spawning areas, nurturing and foraging for fish, becoming the safe habitat for a number of species that are nearly threatened with extinction. In most of the coastal areas, people, whether they are aware of this or not, are very dependent on the environmental services provided by mangrove ecosystems. They are very helpful in maintaining the quality and clarity of the water, filtering pollutants and trapping sediment originating from land.

Muara Angke Wildlife Reserve is a conservation area on the north coast of Jakarta that is part of the Angke Kapuk Forest group. This area is extremely important for Java’s birds with 95 species found and 19 of which are protected, and is home to long-tailed monkeys, saltwater crocodiles, lizards and snakes. Seven mangrove species grow in it.

Based on the results of a study conducted by the Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA Jakarta) and the Yayasan Konservasi Alam Nusantara (YKAN) in 2019, mangrove forests in Jakarta bay are under high pressure due to land-use conversion, especially for settlements and the resulting high levels of pollution. To overcome this, ecosystem-based solutions through mangrove restoration are needed which in the context of climate change can provide three benefits, namely reducing disaster risks that are cost-effective, supporting biodiversity conservation, and improving the economy and human welfare.

On 10 November last year, BKSDA Jakarta, YKAN together with the Mangrove Ecosystem Restoration Alliance (MERA) partners consisting of APP Sinar Mas, PT Indofood Sukses Makmur, PT Chevron Pacific Indonesia and PT Djarum conducted the inauguration of the first phase construction of facilities and infrastructure. Muara Angke Wildlife Reserve. The construction of the first phase is in the form of a gate and bridge over 237.9 meters long. The development is part of strengthening the function of Muara Angke Wildlife Reserve as a centre for environmental education and restoration of mangrove ecosystems in Jakarta.

“To save the mangrove ecosystem in Jakarta, collective action is needed. Related to this, MERA is the answer to integrated and collaborative management that unites all parties in an effort to reduce the vulnerability of coastal communities, protect natural resources and assets, as well as mitigate and adapt to climate change based on scientific studies," explained the Executive Director of the Yayasan Konservasi Alam Nusantara, Herlina Hartanto.

For YKAN, 2021 is the year of the Misi Lestari (Sustainability Mission) campaign which brings mangrove conservation as a theme from 31 May to 31 July. This campaign is part of a celebration of World Mangrove Day which falls every 26 July where YKAN tries to reach new voices and inspires supporters to take action for a sustainable Indonesia. For this campaign, collaboration is the key to encourage communities and leaders from other organizations to become agents of change to preserve the earth. 

The Lestari Mission Campaign invites the wider community to get involved in mangrove conservation efforts through hybrid (online + offline) events that are fun with families with sports elements, by collaborating with several partners as a platform to support the event that carries the 4E pillar concept (Educate, Environment, Entertain, Engage).

Participants are willing to register and carry out Virtual Missions as well as report the results of outdoor activities and movements through the Virtuathlon platform and personal social media plus YKAN account also misilestari_Nusantara account. Participants must do outdoor activities for four weeks and complete the Virtual Mission in accordance with the terms & conditions

Photos: Yayasan Konservasi Alam Nusantara, Topik Hidayat/YKAN

Family participants can post photos with a Twibbon on the IG feed and create a caption of support/invitation to contribute to#sigap5K #milesformangrove. Then, running or walking activities together with a total mileage of 5K, 12K or 25K (multiple submissions) on Virtuathlon plus posting the results on the IG Feed or Story. The activities continue by planting seeds in pots or home terraces, the results can be seen within one to two weeks, and reported on the IG Feed or Story. 

Participants are asked to create a Mission Lestari fundraising account on the website AyoBantu (www.ayobantu.com) and share the link to your family or friends’ network, and post on the IG Feed or Story to ask to donate. Participants are given the option to raise funds to achieve the goals of the Misi Lestari, with the concept of a family account (composition of 1 adult + 1 child) or individually or in groups on the AyoBantu platform.

Now! Jakarta urges you to join this mission which is very important to the future survival of the north coast of Jakarta and indeed most of the affected coastlines of Indonesia.