Monday, 22 March 2010

RI’s mangrove forests shrinks to 2 million ha

RI’s mangrove forests shrinks to 2 million ha

The Jakarta Post , Jakarta Sun, 03/21/2010

Indonesia’s mangrove forest area has shrunk from 4.2 million hectares in 1982 to 2 million hectares, according to an NGO.

People’s Coalition for Justice in Fisheries (Kiara) said Sunday the expansion of brackish fishponds was the main cause of the dwindling mangroves.

Kiara’s secretary general M. Riza Damanik said the deforestation had tipped the environmental balance in coastal areas, especially the declining fish production and rapid abrasions due to high waves.

“The government sees mangrove simply as a commodity that benefits a few people. The mangrove issue has demonstrated the government’s lack of environmental concern.”

The Royal Society, a science academy in Britain, recently released a report about the rapid loss of mangroves all over the world.

In Thailand, each hectare of brackish fishpond yields only US$9,600 for the owner. But the Thai government has to shoulder $1,000 in pollution cost, $12,400 in the loss of ecological functions, $8,400 in subsidies for local community and $9,300 to restore the mangrove forest.

Kiara notes the recent aggressive expansion of oil palm plantations had also worsened the situation because in some areas, the project affects coasts. — JP