Indonesia’s vast mangrove forests

The mangroves in Indonesia are at risk due to the plastic pollution that submerges them: the army has also gone into action to save them with barriers along the coasts that trap waste

Indonesia boasts the world’s largest and most diverse mangrove forests, covering about 8.6 million acres, which account for 23% of the world’s mangroves. These ecosystems are essential not only for protecting coastlines from erosion and flooding but also as crucial carbon sinks for mitigating climate change.

In response to the significant loss of these forests, partly due to plastic pollution, the Indonesian government has initiated several conservation and rehabilitation projects. Recently, the Indonesian army launched a major initiative involving 100 people to install 30 barriers along the coastlines.

These barriers are vital for preventing erosion and facilitating sedimentation, creating a stable environment for mangrove growth. They have also succeeded in stopping plastic pollution, with over 330,693 pounds of plastic waste being removed. This project aims not only to protect the coastal ecosystem but also to improve the living conditions of local communities dependent on the mangrove resources.

World Bank’s project

Despite conservation efforts, rehabilitating Indonesia’s mangroves faces various challenges, including selecting suitable sites for planting and managing water resources. The high cost of rehabilitation, ranging from $1,640 to $3,900 per acre, poses a significant barrier.

However, initiatives like the Indonesian army’s project and projects supported by the World Bank are showing that investing in mangrove protection can bring tangible benefits, such as increased fish production and protection of coastal communities.

The World Bank, through the “Mangroves for Coastal Resilience” project, supports the ambitious goals of the Indonesian government to restore 1.48 million acres of mangroves by 2024. This project aims to improve mangrove management in four priority provinces, developing an integrated model of conservation and restoration that can be replicated across the country. Additionally, the program involves local communities, providing them with new income sources and improving their living conditions.

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