Based on data from the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries in 2013, mangroves on the coast of Semarang City have always received pressure from the aquaculture industry since 1978. Pond openings that were quite intensive from 1990 – 2000 resulted in a significant mangrove coverages decrease from 557.39 hectares in 1990 to 250.16 hectares in 2000. In 1990 – 2019, almost 50% of the mangrove coverage in the coast of Semarang City had vanished. As a result, the coastal ecosystem of Semarang City is vulnerable to abrasion and rob flood. In Mangunharjo Urban Village, Tugu District, Semarang City, these negative impacts also happen.
Since 1997, the abrasion level in the Mangunharjo Urban Village area was very high. The coastal area damages caused by abrasion extended to 150 hectares and have even reached 3.5 kilometers to the residential area.
This mangrove areas restoration in Mangunharjo Urban Village has been one of the focuses of the Mangrove Ecosystem Restoration Alliance (MERA) program since September 2019. MERA is a national multi-stakeholder platform initiated by Yayasan Konservasi Alam Nusantara (YKAN) with partners to achieve the overarching goals of reducing coastal community vulnerability, protecting natural resources and assets, and implementing science-based climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts in five years. “In the context of mangrove ecosystem restoration in the coast of Semarang City, mangrove restoration demonstration plot is needed as a reference to restoration in a larger scope, and educational facilities for communities in the surrounding areas,” explained Muhammad Imran Amin, Director of MERA Program.
To provide education about mangrove restoration to communities in Mangunharjo Urban Village, a training about mangrove restoration was held on September 6 – 7, 2021. The training materials included seeds selection, nursery, planting, monitoring, and maintenance of mangrove restoration demonstration plots.
These mangrove ecosystem conservation and integrated coastal management in Mangunharjo Urban Village have been a long-time concern of PT Djarum that joined the MERA alliance and fully supported these efforts. “It was a calling for us to support the mangrove conservation and integrated coastal management, including the one in Mangunharjo Urban Village, as a form of our responsibility to the nature, to Earth where we live, and to the future generations,” said Jemmy Chayadi, Director of Strategy and Sustainable Development of PT Djarum.
Aside from the ecological aspect, the integrated coastal approach also touched upon the socio-economic aspects, including livelihoods. YKAN and Mangunharjo Urban Village communities have identified the flagship economic sector that supports sustainable coastal and marine resources management efforts to increase the community’s standard of living.
The identification from the Communities Inspiring Actions for Change (Aksi Inspiratif Warga untuk Perubahan or SIGAP) participatory approach showed that shrimp chips, mangrove batik, and pond aquaculture are flagship and potential products of the community in Mangunharjo Urban Village. In supporting the business continuity of those community businesses, Raharjo Mandiri Multifunctional Cooperative has been built since 2020 to improve flagship community economic products.
“With Raharjo Mandiri Multifunctional Cooperative, community products are hoped to be marketed well, their qualities are maintained well, and their results can help increase the community economy,” said Sugiarti, Head of Mangunharjo Urban Village.
The Medium Small Micro Business (Usaha Mikro Kecil Menengah or UMKM) products require a breakthrough in their marketing to reach a broader market, including digital platform utilization. Concerning that, training in digital marketing was held on September 8, 2021, with Blibli.com for Raharjo Mandiri Cooperative members. “UMKM products should have a product quality standard and a higher quality. UMKM also has to be eloquent in reading market potential,” explained Agus Pribadi, Blibli Galeri Indonesia SME Sales Channel Lead.
“One of the integrated coastal management objectives through MERA program in Mangunharjo Urban Village is to support the strategy in increasing the coastal community welfare through conservation-based economic activities. If it was managed effectively and sustainably, mangroves could be the source of livelihoods while also contributing to the food and social securities,” said Muhammad Ilman, YKAN Ocean Program Director.
Yayasan Konservasi Alam Nusantara (YKAN) is a scientific-based non-profit organization that has been present in Indonesia since 2014. With the mission of protecting lands and waters as life support systems, we provide innovative solutions to realize the harmony of nature and humans through effective natural resource management, prioritizing a non-confrontational approach, and building a network of partnerships with all stakeholders for a sustainable Indonesia. For more information, visit ykan.or.id.