Mangroves in Indonesia
Mangroves are a type of plant or ecosystem commonly found in tidal areas, often recognized by their distinctive aerial roots. Mangrove ecosystems serve various purposes, including coastal protection from waves and strong winds, prevention of coastal erosion, rainwater retention to prevent flooding, and absorption of pollutants that contaminate water bodies.
Furthermore, mangroves also serve as feeding grounds and habitats for various marine animals and provide shelter for animals like fish larvae, spawning grounds for various fish and shrimp species, and homes for various water birds.
Indonesia possesses approximately 23% of the world's total mangrove ecosystems, covering around 3 million hectares along its 95,000 kilometres of coastline. However, nearly 70% of these mangrove ecosystems in Indonesia are degraded.
In addressing this challenge, it is essential to carry out mangrove restoration using appropriate methods and approaches to ensure effective conservation efforts and achieve desired outcomes.
This article will discuss four of the best locations suitable for mangrove planting activities in Indonesia.
Table of Content:
Location Selection for Planting
To ensure the success of mangrove planting, selecting the right location is a crucial step to ensure that the planted mangrove seedlings can thrive and have an impact on the coastal ecosystem. Several important aspects that need to be considered before choosing a mangrove planting location include the following:
a. Soil Type
The type of soil is one of the crucial aspects in selecting a mangrove planting location. The soil in mangrove ecosystems typically includes mud/clay, sandy mud, and sand. The characteristics of these soils play a significant role in mangrove growth. For instance, mud soil can provide a stable foundation for mangrove roots to thrive under tidal conditions.
On the other hand, sandy mud and sand soils, due to their different textures, influence the mangrove's ability to absorb the necessary nutrients and water for its growth. Therefore, it is essential to assess the soil conditions at the planting site before engaging in mangrove planting activities.
b. Water Type
Mangroves are highly adaptive plants that can grow in various types of water, including freshwater, brackish water, and saltwater. Suitable water conditions significantly influence the growth of mangrove seedlings. For example, mangroves tend to thrive better in areas with brackish or saltwater, which provide an environment similar to their natural coastal habitat.
However, there are also specific mangrove species like Sonneratia sp, Rhizophora sp, Xylocarpus sp, Pemphis sp, Lumnitzera sp, Bruguiera sp., and Avicennia sp. that can grow well in freshwater environments.
c. Microbial Content
Microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi play a crucial role in decomposing organic materials. An environment rich in microorganisms can support the growth of mangrove seedlings by generating nutrients for mangroves.
According to research by Poedjirahajoe (2006), the composition of microorganisms, especially plankton, in a water body suitable for mangrove planting typically falls within the range of >250 plankton individuals per litre. This can also be used as an indicator of water fertility, as plankton (both phytoplankton and zooplankton) serves as a food source for aquatic organisms. The abundance of plankton in a water body is also an indicator that the area is suitable for the growth and reproduction of mangrove ecosystems.
d. Chemical Composition
The chemical content, such as nitrogen content, dissolved oxygen (DO) levels, soil pH, base saturation, nutrient content, organic matter content, and various other parameters, play a critical role in the growth and survival of mangroves. For instance, nitrogen content serves as an essential nutrient for mangrove growth, and adequate DO levels in the water also affect the respiration processes of mangroves and other marine organisms within the ecosystem.
Therefore, before determining a mangrove planting location, it's essential to understand the soil's chemical conditions to determine the appropriate soil treatment. Understanding these parameters can help ensure that mangrove seedlings can thrive effectively.
e. Coastal Slope Level
The coastal slope is a critical factor that influences mangrove structure, species composition, distribution, and the extent of the mangrove area. Coastal characteristics such as the width and length of the coastline are closely related to inundation and sedimentation.
Coastal slope and tidal dynamics are two interrelated factors that mutually influence each other. For instance, the coastal slope is a crucial factor affecting the characteristics of mangrove structures, particularly the size and extent of mangroves. As the coastline becomes flatter and the tidal range increases, the mangrove ecosystem's width also expands.
Certain mangrove species, like Rhizophora stylosa and Avicennia alba, have the ability to grow on slopes ranging from 1% to 5%, while Avicennia marina can grow on slopes of 1% to 4%. Additionally, the coastal slope in mangrove ecosystems should be carefully considered in every planning and site selection process because it significantly affects the width of the green belt and the tidal range of seawater.
Salinity, or the level of salt in the water, is a crucial aspect to consider in the selection of mangrove planting locations. Mangroves are highly tolerant to varying salinity levels, and various mangrove species can be found thriving in environments with different salinity levels.
Typically, mangroves can grow vigorously in estuarine areas (coastal regions semi-enclosed with one or more flowing rivers and freely connected to the open sea) with salinity ranging from 10% to 30%.
A location with the appropriate salinity level can indeed support mangrove growth. Despite their high adaptability, excessively low or high salinity can affect mangrove's ability to absorb the necessary water and nutrients.
g. Mud Thickness
The thickness of mud is a crucial factor in the formation of mangrove ecosystems. Mangroves, with their creeping roots, require a sufficiently thick layer of mud to grow and thrive effectively. The appropriate thickness of mud provides the necessary support for mangrove roots to access water and nutrients beneath the soil surface.
Furthermore, the thickness of mud also influences the types of mangrove species that can inhabit a particular environment. The level of mud thickness is also related to the fertility and organic matter content it contains. Mud can serve as an indicator of the stability of an ecosystem, with thicker mud indicating a more stable environment compared to thinner mud.
The substrate, which is the surface on which an organism (such as plants, fungi, and animals) lives, also significantly determines the mangrove ecosystem's life. The suitable substrate type for mangrove growth is soft mud, which contains silt and clay along with soft organic matter.
The silt and clay soil types also aid in mangrove reproduction by providing cushioning and trapping mature mangrove fruits that fall. This process also determines the density of a mangrove ecosystem. Therefore, in planning and selecting mangrove planting locations, environmental condition maps are needed as references to ensure they can provide the necessary stability and nutrients for mangrove growth.
h. Plant Density
Species density provides insights into species diversity within the mangrove ecosystem. The success of mangrove planting depends not only on the species and environmental conditions but also on how densely mangroves are planted. Planting at the appropriate density allows mangroves to better compete for nutrients, sunlight, and available space.
The recommended plant density is usually more than 7,000 individuals per hectare. This density indicates that the distribution of mangrove seedlings in the planting location is quite good. As per the guidelines of the mangrove ecosystem silviculture system, a good natural regeneration for mangrove ecosystems is achieved when the distribution is approximately 2,500 individuals per hectare.
Recommended Locations for Mangrove Plantation in Indonesia
1. Harapan Island, Kepulauan Seribu
Harapan Island, Kepulauan Seribu is one of the locations suitable for mangrove planting in Indonesia.
The coastline in this area features relatively small waves, with a substrate consisting of thick mud, consistently inundated by seawater, and sufficient sunlight for both germination and the growth of mangrove seedlings. Additionally, Harapan Island boasts a diversity of mangrove species, including the genera Rhizophora, Avicennia, and Bruguiera.
2. Coastal Area of Jembrana, Bali
The Coastal Area of Jembrana, Bali is one of the conservation areas with significant mangrove vegetation potential that needs to be preserved. The Jembrana region covers an area of 3,532.52 hectares, divided into two conservation areas: the Coastal Conservation Area and the Perancak Coastal Park (1,137.72 hectares of land and 1,165.50 hectares of marine area) and the Melaya Coastal Conservation Area (1,229.30 hectares).
With its extensive conservation areas and high potential for mangrove vegetation, the coastal areas of Jembrana also have suitable characteristics for mangrove planting in Indonesia. The substrate consists of sand, is regularly inundated by seawater, and maintains its natural aquatic conditions.
Furthermore, this area is also an eco-tourism destination and is rich in biodiversity, including various coral reef fish, tuna, and bonito, as well as other marine life like squid and lobster.
3. Dompak Island, Kepulauan Riau
Dompak Island, Riau is an island in the archipelago with significant coastal potential, including rich seagrass beds, seagrass meadows, and mangroves. Along its coastline, Dompak Island also features diverse mangrove ecosystems with various mangrove species.
Furthermore, Dompak Island is home to various protected marine life, such as dolphins, manta rays, and even dugongs. Due to its characteristics of sandy mud substrate, calm waves, and constant inundation by seawater, Dompak Island is an ideal location for mangrove restoration and a suitable environment for mangrove growth and development.
4. Tanjung Pakis, Jawa Barat
Tanjung Pakis, West Java is one of the recommended mangrove planting locations on the North Coast of Java. The choice of location for mangrove planting in Tanjung Pakis is of course based on the characteristics of its ecosystem which supports seeding and enlargement of mangroves, such as the type of substrate which is thick mud and waves which are not too big. Tanjung Pakis is also a strategic location in the Corporate Social Responsibility program because of its location close to fishing settlements and mangrove farming groups, as well as close access from urban areas.
Efficiency of Mangrove Plantation in Indonesia
Indonesia indeed possesses the world's largest mangrove ecosystem, accounting for approximately 23% of the global mangrove area, which spans along its 95,000-kilometer coastline. However, the conversion of mangrove land for agriculture, aquaculture, and human settlements has led to the deforestation of mangroves at a rate of 0.05 million hectares annually. As a result, Indonesia has lost 40% of its mangrove area in the last thirty years, making it the country with the highest mangrove deforestation rate in the world.
To address this issue, massive and targeted mangrove restoration efforts are needed to achieve conservation goals and provide optimal benefits. One key factor determining the success of mangrove restoration is the selection of suitable locations. The right location ensures that planted mangrove seedlings can thrive and support the health of coastal ecosystems.
To determine the appropriate location for mangrove planting, factors such as soil type, water type, microbial content, chemical composition, coastal slope level, salinity, mud thickness, and plant density need to be considered. Based on these criteria, CarbonEthics recommends several locations for mangrove restoration or Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs. These locations include Harapan Island in Kepulauan Seribu, the Jembrana Conservation Area in Bali, Dompak Island in Riau, and Tanjung Pakis, West Java, which can be carried out through CarbonEthics' CSR program. Through careful research and consideration of location and suitable methods, mangrove planting in collaboration with CarbonEthics also contributes to the economic well-being of coastal communities. Additionally, the growth of planted mangroves can be monitored using a Digital Monitoring system to ensure their successful development.
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