Mangroves, the last bastion of the coastal region. Even though they are in an urban area, that doesn't mean that urban residents don't have a stake in protecting the mangrove ecosystem. To increase shared awareness about mangrove conservation, the Jakarta BKSDA, together with Yayasan Konservasi Alam Nusantara (YKAN), held an awareness event with the theme "Mangrove Jakarta for whom?" which was attended by some media crews on 25 May 2023 at the Muara Angke Wildlife Reserve, Jakarta North. On this occasion, interactive discussions were held, planting mangroves, clearing weeds, and mangrove nurseries.
The Muara Angke Wildlife Reserve (SM) area in North Jakarta, which has an area of 25.02 hectares, is the smallest wildlife reserve in Indonesia and one of the remaining mangrove ecosystems in Jakarta. "For the people of DKI Jakarta and its surroundings, Muara Angke School is the most important area to support life. This area is also home to 8 true mangrove species, namely Avicennia marina, Bruguiera gymnorrhiza, Nypa fruticans, Rhizophora apiculata, Rhizophora mucronata, Sonneratia caseolaris, Acrosticum aureum, and Excoecaria agallocha. Apart from mangroves, this place is also a habitat for various fauna, such as saltwater crocodiles, lizards, long-tailed monkeys, snakes, and birds. Mangroves have an important role as oxygen donors, carbon dioxide absorbers, hydrological regulators, pollutant absorbers, landscape beauty, and providers of biodiversity," explained the Head of BKSDA Jakarta Agus Arianto, as manager of the Muara Angke SM area.
Since 2018, the Jakarta BKSDA has collaborated with YKAN to protect and restore the focused mangrove ecosystem at Muara Angke Island. The restoration process at Muara Angke Wildlife Refuge includes installing a trash barrier on the banks of the Angke River, controlling weeds, improving hydrology, and stockpiling substrate in areas with high inundation. This restoration process is starting to show an improvement in the ecosystem. Based on the results of a study conducted in December 2022-January 2023, there was a natural recruitment of the mangrove species Sonneratia caseolaris and an increase in bird and snake species.
The study's results also recorded 60 species of birds (20 species of water birds and 40 species of land birds) and 16 species of reptiles. This means there has been an increase in the post-restoration period, from 57 species (based on data in 2021) to 60 bird species; and from 10 species (based on data in 2019) to 16 species of reptiles. The number increase was in the ducks, the sea cockerel, the finches, the caladi look, the peking bondol, the ivory pigeon, the Javanese chili. The number of waterbird species is increasing, including the Asian cormorant and great egret, likely migratory birds.
In addition, a species of red-eyed snake (Ahaetulla cf. rufusoculara) was found, a new species requiring further research. This snake only exists in Vietnam and has never been recorded in Indonesia.
"If managed effectively and sustainably, mangroves are not only a protection against natural disasters such as tsunamis, storms, and sea waves. But mangroves can also be a source of income. Mangrove ecosystems also have a close relationship with climate change. Indonesia's role in mitigating global climate change is huge, so protecting and restoring mangrove ecosystems is an important step that must be taken together as a form of our concern for the world," added YKAN Marine Program Director Muhammad Ilman.
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.