Social and economic aspects are important in integrated coastal area management. This was raised in the "Workshop on Evaluation of Community Economic Development Based on Coastal and Marine Environmental Sustainability in Mangunharjo Village" which was held by the Mangunharjo Village Government together with Yayasan Konservasi Alam Nusantara (YKAN), supported by PT Djarum on Wednesday, 29 July 2020 at the Mangunharjo Village Hall, Tugu District, Semarang City.
The event, which was conducted following the COVID-19 protocol, is part of the Mangrove Ecosystem Restoration Alliance (MERA) program stage. MERA is a multi-stakeholder national platform, initiated by YKAN together with partners, to achieve the overall goal of 5 years in reducing the vulnerability of coastal communities, protecting natural resources and assets, as well as in mitigating and adapting to climate change based on scientific studies.
Since 1997, the level of abrasion in the Mangunharjo Village area has been very high. Damage to coastal areas caused by abrasion reaches 150 hectares, even extending 3.5 kilometers to residential areas. Mitigation action taken by the local community is to plant mangroves around the shoreline. Planting mangroves can prevent abrasion because mangroves have roots that are efficient in protecting coastal soil, so they can protect soil erosion due to water.
The fruit of the hard work of the people of Mangunharjo Village has also paid off. The mangrove forest area in the Mangunharjo Village area is now the most extensive and in the best condition, when compared to other mangrove forest areas in Semarang City. It covers an area of 62.83 hectares, while the total area of mangroves in Semarang City is 268.76 hectares.
Mangrove planting is an important effort made to restore the ecological function of mangrove forests, but it is not the only factor. An integrated management of coastal areas is needed that takes into account the ecological, social and economic aspects to restore the natural function of mangrove forests, as well as improve the livelihoods of local communities.
The restoration of the mangrove area in Mangunharjo Village has been one of the focuses of the MERA program since September 2019. “One of the goals of integrated coastal management through the MERA program in Mangunharjo Village is to support strategies to improve the welfare of coastal communities through conservation-based economic activities. If managed in an effective and sustainable way, mangroves can provide a source of income, protection, and contribute to food and social security. A healthy mangrove ecosystem supports fishery productivity,” explained MERA Program Director Muhammad Imran Amin.
Efforts to preserve the mangrove ecosystem and integrated coastal management in Mangunharjo Village are also a concern for PT Djarum, which is a member of the MERA alliance. "We feel called to support mangrove conservation and integrated coastal management, including in Mangunharjo Village because this is a form of our responsibility to the environment, the earth in which we live, as well as responsibility to our future generations," said PT Djarum Jemmy Chayadi, Director of Strategy and Sustainable Development.
Development of Economic Benefits
Mangunharjo Village is one of the fishery centers in Semarang City. The fish ponds produce milkfish, snapper, tiger prawns, vaname shrimp, natural prawns (white prawns and spotted prawns), and crabs. Most of the people of Mangunharjo Village make a living as pond farmers and fishermen.
Realizing the above potential, YKAN together with the people of Mangunharjo Village have identified leading economic sectors that support sustainable coastal and marine resource management efforts to improve people's living standards.
From the results of the identification using the participatory approach to Inspiring Community Action for Change (SIGAP), it is known that prawn crackers, batik mangroves, and aquaculture are superior and potential products for the people of Mangunharjo Village. In supporting the sustainability of the community's economic business, it is necessary to have an economic institution in the form of a cooperative to increase the community's superior economic products.
For this reason, the Mangunharo Village Government, supported by YKAN and PT Djarum, has initiated the formation of the Multipurpose Mandiri Raharja Cooperative since the beginning of this year. "With the Mandiri Raharja Multipurpose Cooperative, it is hoped that the community's products can be marketed properly, the quality is always maintained, and the results can help improve the community's economy," concluded Sugiarti, as the Village Head of Mangunharjo.
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.