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18 Feb 2022

Primadona Tropical Wetlands: Mangrove Ecosystem

Wetlands are areas that are affected by the surrounding water conditions. According to Ramsar Convention 1991, wetlands are areas of swamp, brackish, peat land and body of water; permanent or transient; stagnant or flowing water; fresh water, brackish, or salt water; including areas of marine water with the depth is not more than six meters at its low tide. Wetlands have an important role for the survival of living things, including absorbing pollutants, purifying water and driving the community's economy.

Furthermore, as a part of wetland ecosystem, the mangrove ecosystem has a very vital role for the biota in its ecosystem because it has a function as a provider of protection and food sources in the form of organic materials that includes in the food chain. The typical plants in the mangrove ecosystem are the types of Avicennia, Bruguiera, Ceriops, Rhizophora, and Sonneratia.

The utilization of typical mangrove plants can be used as an economic driver for the surrounding community, including making syrup, candy, dodol, and jam from Sonneratia caseolaris fruit, flour from Bruguiera gymnorrhiza fruit. In addition, the community and stakeholders can take advantage of the mangrove ecosystem to use it as ecotourism as what has been done by many regions in Indonesia such as Surabaya, Muara Angke, Bali and other areas.

Indonesia currently has more than 17,500 islands with a coastline of 95,181 km, making Indonesia one of the countries with the largest mangrove forest in the world, which is 3.48 million ha. However, with such a large area, the mangrove ecosystem has suffered various damages caused by human activities including forest conversion, uncontrolled logging and water pollution.

The increase of population in general will have an impact on the demand for land needs. This will be diverted for housing and economic activities such as ponds, which in this case has put pressure on the existence of mangrove vegetation in Indonesia.

Mangrove forest destruction can cause: Intrusion of sea water where the sea water enters towards the mainland which causes fresh water to decrease in quality, it’s even capable to turn into salt water. The next is that there is no longer a place for fauna to take shelter, so a decrease in biodiversity will occur. Then, there will be an increase in coastal abrasion, one of the reasons for this is the reduced or damaged roots of mangrove trees which function as barrier for the waves. Furthermore, the decrease in food sources due to the destruction of the Mangrove Forest which usually become a place for spawning and place for laying eggs for marine biota resulting the decrease in the production of fish, due to a decrease in the amount of plankton which is a source of food for the biota in the mangrove forest. Finally, there is an increase in pollution on the coast, due to the fact that mangrove forests cannot absorb carbon and an increase in coastal pollution will occur.

Talking about conservation means talking about the efforts to manage natural resources wisely. So, in conservation there are several aspects that must be considered including aspects of community empowerment, ecological aspects and economic aspects. Conservation will synergize well when these three aspects are met.

 

Evan Vria Andesmora, S.Si., M.Si

Staff 

Center for the Study of Conservation and Biological Resources