Madrid (ANTARA) - Indonesia’s mangrove forest cover grew to 3.56 million hectares in 2019, Director of Environment and Disaster Management of the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime and Investment Affairs Sahat M. Panggabean stated.

"Mangrove forests in Indonesia currently cover a total area equivalent to 59 times of Madrid City," Panggabean remarked during a panel session on acceleration of mangrove rehabilitation in Indonesia, held at the Pavilion Indonesia on Tuesday on the sidelines of the Conference of the Parties (COP) 25 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Panggabean stressed on the importance of partnership among stakeholders, including the government, academicians, local people, businesspersons, NGOs, and the Indonesian Navy, as the key to mangrove restoration.

He noted that Indonesia had made steady, focused efforts to improve mangrove management through the development of maritime and coastal planning throughout the country.

The government had also declared some areas as maritime conservation areas, he pointed out.

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A senior officer of the Indonesian Navy Col. Arif Badrudin affirmed the navy’s strong commitment to supporting mangrove restoration in Indonesia.

"In 2019, during the Indonesian Navy's 74th anniversary commemoration, we have planted 300,074 mangrove trees across Indonesia," he stated.

In the meantime, Executive Director of the Belantara Foundation Sri Mariati noted that the NGO had supported the government's program to conduct rehabilitation of the mangrove area, particularly in the eastern coast of Sumatra.

The foundation has rehabilitated 51.16 hectares of mangrove forests involving eight villages in the region.

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Environment and Forestry Affairs Minister Siti Nurbaya noted that mangrove forests are capable of storing five-folds more greenhouse gases than inland forests.

As part of its commitment to mangrove preservation, Indonesia has sponsored the issuance of resolution on mangrove preservation during the 4th meeting of the UN Environment Agency (UNEA) in Nairobi, Kenya, in mid-2019.

"Indonesia is also encouraging the development of a world mangrove center," Nurbaya pointed out.

Indonesia is one of the nations in the world having the largest area of mangrove forests, with one-fourth of the world's mangrove forests being found in the country.

Mangrove forests are one of the coastal ecosystems that play a role in mitigating the impact of climate change.

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Translator: Saptono, Sri Haryati
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
Copyright © ANTARA 2019