Mangrove, Priceless Ecological Richness or Destruction

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Mangrove ecosystem degradation in Indonesia has been in the alarming level. According to CIFOR forests news portal, in the past three decades more than 40 percent of mangrove forests have gone in Indonesia. It means that mangrove destruction pace in Indonesia is the fastest in the world.

Ironically, Indonesia is reputable with its largest mangrove in the world. The total of mangrove areas in Indonesia is 3 million hectares or around 23 percent of the total of global mangrove ecosystems. 

The loss of mangrove forests contributes 42 percent of greenhouse gas emission due to the degraded coastal ecosystems including swamp, mangrove, and seaweeds. Deforestation of mangrove forests in Indonesia has brought about the loss of 190 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent every year. 

Read also: Waste, Majoir Concern of Maluku Young Kewang

South Sulawesi Province’s Section Head of Environmental Pollution of Environment Management Office, Surono Parabang, regretted this situation. As to him, the government and community should have actively participated to protect mangrove forests. 

“One of the challenges is the prominent degradation of coastal mangrove forests. Whereas, sea or coastal areas are the joint resources which are open to anyone. Thus, all peoples have access anywhere and anytime could exploit them,’ said Surono in a virtual discussion entitled “Save the Last Mangrove at Makassar City” on Thursday (23/2/2021).

Mangrove forests have a lot of benefits to human and other creatures as they could prevent intrusion and coastal abrasion. They serve as the habitat and sources of food to other creatures. Mangrove plays its role as natural preventive and filter of waste from sea and it accelerates the decomposition of organic waste on the shores. 

Read also: Taking in Kewang Spirit for Sustainable Maluku

According to National Geographic Indonesia, a dimension equals to tropical forests, mangrove forests could keep 3-5 times higher than the tropical forests at the high land. As an illustration, one hectare of mangrove forest can absorb 1,000 tons of carbon per hectare. This helps combat climate change and the mounting climate change. 

Hasanuddin University’s lecturer, Rijal Idrus, said that one mangrove which is cut off will reduce its ecological service. One of the examples of the degrading mangrove forests happens in Makassar City in South Sulawesi Province, as more than 75 percent of mangrove forests in this region has gone. In 1980, mangrove forests in Makassar were 4,800 hectares and the figure dropped into 231 hectares in 2018. 

“Most of mangrove forests were cut off and converted into shrimp ponds. Based on the existing studies, mangrove whose ecosystem is not bothered or cut off will give far bigger ecological benefits than that of shrimp ponds. It does not only affect the income which is far lower, but also it brings about environmental pollution and less supply of carbon emission absorption,” said Rijal.

Read also: Protecting Forest, Saving Human

As to Rijal, destroying mangrove areas will trigger other degradation of natural resources, because natural resources are interconnected. “For instance, the relation of mangrove and charming coral reef. When mangrove on the shore is gone, coral reef will be dying in the future. This happens due to the fact that mangrove traps sedimentation. Thus, when there is no mangrove, sedimentation will go directly to the sea and lead to the death of coral reef,” he said.

Editor: Leo Wahyudi

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