Mangroves are forests living in the tidal areas. Despite having a million benefits, but its presence is often denied compared to other forests. While the mangrove is the last fort between the water and the mainland. If the fort is broken, the existence on the land will be damaged even destroyed. Aside from nature, the damage of mangrove can’t be separated from the main role of humans. Mangroves are often exploited heavily by humans for fuel, building materials, charcoal, food sources and even made a pond cause the disintegration of mangrove functions in nature.
The 2004 Tsunami tragedy is evident. More than 200,000 people became victims (UN, 2005). One of the factors of the high impact of the tsunami is the loss of mangroves on the coast of Aceh. After the tsunami, many countries came to help, not just humanitarian aid but also planted mangroves to reduce the impact of the disaster.
The damage of Mangrove has also occurred in South Sulawesi. Unlike in Aceh, It occurs due to over-exploitation into ponds. Removing more than 60% or 191,000 ha of mangrove area of South Sulawesi (FAO, 2005). The damage affects coastal life, the number of fish, crabs, shrimps begin to decrease, frequency abrasion. This affects the income of the community, with exception the farmers. This damage is exacerbated because coastal communities are too dependent on nature. They use less of their potential in managing resources
Various efforts have been made to repair mangrove from damage, but It hasn’t shown the expected results. The success rate of mangrove planting is only 10%.
Then, what is the main thing to do for coastal communities??? First, the coastal community must be aware of the importance of mangroves. Second, the community ways to manage environmentally friendly mangrove / coastal areas; third, the community ability to utilize mangrove areas more wisely. This is OUR role is to help people maintain the nature and help to improve their lives.
Since the beginning, Blue Forests isn’t only recovering the mangrove area but also increasing human awareness through education. It isn’t like formal education in the school, but education that aims to improve critical thinking that will arouse awareness and lead to changes in behavioral attitudes to preserve natural environment.
Pond Field School. Organic.
How is the right way to maintain nature and a survival of human life. We build Coastal Field School / SLP. At SLP we started organize the community in groups. Along with the community, we started by mapping the ecosystem area to know the potential of the village and the encountered problems. After that, we explore the untapped potential to solve the existing problems.
For example in Bontomanai Village, District Labbakkang Pangekep District. This village has a more than 1000 ha pond area (DKP SulSel 2015). But from the mapping results in the Field School, more than half of the ponds are critical and unproductive. The deaths of shrimp and milkfish are frequently happened, even more than 10 years there isn’t any the production of tiger shrimp.
Next we create a research demplot together to know the cultivation technique of environment friendly ponds. Twenty five farmers gather each week to make observations. Observing environmental relationships (water, temperature, weather), management (type and amount of fertilizer) with shrimp and milkfish growth (weight, length and disease). This observation was conducted during 1 cultivation cycle until obtain the field based data
In the field school, the observation process, small discussions and presentations each week are giving a positive impact. Aside from changing attitudes and behaviors, the application of the adult learning process increases community capacity and builds confidence. The complete process, dynamic and comprehensive makes the field school a very effective approach in community organization.
There are various types of field schools that have been carried out: salt water, compost fertilizer, mangrove processing, Bamboo, Sagoo, EMR.
From Field School activities, the conclusions obtained from field school learning are the decrease of pond productivity caused by water quality degradation due to loss of mangrove, excessive use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. The presence of mangrove is very important in supporting the productivity of ponds. Mangrove produces nutrients for shrimp and milkfish food, maintains water quality and salinity, prevents abrasion and protects ponds.
Besides, the management of ponds that are not environmentally friendly brings the new problems. The high pursuit of production cause farmers to use a variety of fertilizers and pesticides without control. As a result the productivity decreased, even shrimp and milkfish frequently death. Fertilizer is expected to boost productivity but it also becomes toxic to shrimp and milkfish. in the field school of organic pond we replace chemical fertilizer with natural fertilizer using household waste and local potency. This method is also able to reduce the production cost of farmers. In addition, the production of shrimp and milkfish is more increased and resistant to pest attacks than when using chemical fertilizers.
Apparently, the community recognizes that their pond production is would be good if they managed naturally with a maintained mangrove environment.
“Field Schools prove that with the proper process farmers can changes for the better life”