Yayasan Konservasi Alam Nusantara (YKAN), supported by the Temasek Foundation and Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) Sinar Mas, launches the Integrated Coastal Management Development Program and Promotes Natural Climate Solutions through the Mangrove Ecosystem Restoration Alliance (MERA) partnership framework in South Sumatera Province. The launch of this program was marked by a workshop held in Palembang on November 4, 2021.
South Sumatra Province is one of the provinces that has mangroves covering an area of 158,900 hectares (KLHK, 2021) which is 27.98% of the total mangrove area in Sumatra (567,900 thousand hectares) or 4.72% of the total mangrove area in Indonesia (3.364 million hectares). hectares). So that strategic steps are needed to maintain its sustainability.
“The South Sumatra Provincial Government has a very big commitment to the efforts to protect the mangrove ecosystem. In carrying out strategic integrated coastal management programs, we are open to working with stakeholders so that the programs that have been set can be realized more quickly. For this reason, I welcome the presence of the Mangrove Ecosystem Restoration Alliance (MERA) in South Sumatra Province which will have an assisted area in Ogan Komering Ilir (OKI) Regency. On this occasion, I would also like to extend my appreciation to YKAN and its supporting partners, namely the Temasek Foundation and APP Sinar Mas for their initiative to assist the South Sumatra Provincial Government in developing integrated coastal management through the MERA Program," explained South Sumatra Governor Herman Deru.
Mangrove restoration programs must be accompanied by good planning. This was emphasized by the Head of the South Sumatra Provincial Forestry Service, Pandji Tjahjanto. "With the MERA Program, it is hoped that there will be a comprehensive plan for mangrove management in South Sumatra Province. We can turn this plan into a mangrove restoration activity that has two benefits. In addition to preserving the mangrove itself, it also contributes to the improvement of the community's economy, "explained Pandji.
Concern for the preservation of mangrove ecosystems has also become a concern for private parties who are members of the MERA alliance in South Sumatra Province, namely the Temasek Foundation and APP Sinar Mas. “Protection and restoration of mangroves is one of the most important nature-based solutions to address the problem of climate change. It can also contribute to the improvement of coastal ecosystems and improvement of community livelihoods. Together with our partners here, the Temasek Foundation hopes that this program can be a model for the protection and sustainable restoration of mangroves in OKI Regency and provide benefits to the community. We also hope that this model can be replicated in South Sumatra and its surroundings, through partnerships with the government, private sector and local communities," said Chief Executive of Temasek Foundation Liveability Lim Hock Chuan.
The Head of Landscape Conservation Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) Sinar Mas, Jasmine NP Doloksaribu said the same thing. “APP Sinar Mas, which is part of MERA, supports a shared mission for conservation and restoration initiatives for mangrove ecosystems in Indonesia. Through this coastal ecosystem restoration program, it is hoped that it will be one of the efforts to mitigate climate change, reduce disaster risk, and can provide benefits to the community," he explained.
In practice, the MERA Program will work in OKI District. Coastal villages in the OKI region rely heavily on fisheries and aquaculture for their livelihoods. However, in this coastal area the excessive development of ponds has led to a high level of mangrove degradation, thereby reducing the ability of the ecosystem to support the production of aquaculture products. “A healthy mangrove ecosystem will support fishery productivity. With the presence of the MERA Program in South Sumatra Province, we hope to help repair the damaged mangrove ecosystem. Of course, we will also support the implementation of the program in the field,” explained the Head of the South Sumatra Province Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Service, Widada Sukrisna.
Coastal management synergies
The social aspect is something that cannot be separated in coastal management. Public awareness about the importance of preserving mangroves is a success factor in mangrove restoration efforts. “Our task is to build an environmental conservation scheme. In the process, the community must be involved, so that a good synergy is built between the government and the community," said Head of the Musi Watershed and Protected Forest Management Center, Sulthani Aziz.
One of the efforts to provide space for communities to manage coastal forests is through social forestry schemes. “Repairing damaged mangroves can be synergized with efforts to increase the capacity of human resources. The step is to increase the role of the mangrove ecosystem to improve the community's economy through the development of non-timber forest products and environmental services as well as the development of productive mangrove management models through the silvofishery cultivation system to increase the production of shrimp, crabs, fish while conserving mangroves," said Danang Kuncara Sakti, Section Head. Social Forestry Business Development Directorate General of Social Forestry and Environmental Partnership, Ministry of Environment and Forestry.
Ecosystem-based collaborative management strategies, including restoration and integrated management, are important things that must be pursued in the context of integrated coastal management. “Efforts to conserve and restore mangroves are the responsibility of all of us. This spirit is promoted through MERA. MERA is a multi-stakeholder national platform, initiated by YKAN, to reduce the vulnerability of coastal communities, protect natural resources and assets, and contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts. The MERA program also carries an ecosystem-based solution approach that will result in 'triple-wins', namely reducing disaster risk in a cost-effective manner, supporting biodiversity conservation, and improving the economy and community welfare," concluded the Executive Director of Yayasan Konservasi Alam Nusantara, Herlina Hartanto.
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.