A Charles Darwin University PhD candidate will travel to one of the world’s largest mangrove conservation conferences to discuss an initiative that aims to recover the vital ecosystem in Indonesia.
Benjamin Brown said technology was available to restore entire degraded mangrove forest landscapes in Indonesia, but the initiative required political and landholder support.
He will present findings from his work at the Mangroves and Macrobenthos Meeting IV in Florida, US.
Mr. Brown interviewed 400 residents and political leaders from communities in Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan, and Sulawesi to assess whether they supported large-scale mangrove restoration in their regions.
He said the Tanjung Panjang Nature Reserve in northern Sulawesi received the widest community and local government support to restore 6600 hectares of degraded mangroves.
“People are aware of the value of mangroves and how to restore them but, before we can move forward, we need to address the drivers that caused them to be converted in the first place,” Mr. Brown said.
He said the conversion of mangrove forests into aquaculture ponds was the biggest cause of mangrove degradation in Indonesia despite many ponds being unproductive or disused.
The process of restoring mangrove forests from converted ponds involves improving the ponds hydrology.
“For a little mangrove restoration work, you get a lot more bang for your buck, with mangroves being able to store 100 times the amount of carbon per hectare than tropical rainforests,” he said.
*The original article was published in Sun Newspaper – NT News (Darwin) on Tuesday, June 21 2016