We plant them (the seedlings) in a 50-hectare mangrove area.
Jakarta (ANTARA) - The National Peatland and Mangrove Restoration Agency (BRGM) has provided mangrove seedling assistance to communities in Papua through its mangrove rehabilitation program, which is aimed at increasing the people’s income in the long term.

Indonesia has 3.36-million hectares of mangrove forest area, BRGM secretary Ayu Dewi Utari said here on Monday.

About 1.5 million hectares of mangrove forests are located in Papua and West Papua provinces, she added.

However, about 6 percent of them are damaged, including the mangrove forest in Klamana village, East Sorong sub-district, Sorong city, West Papua, due to overexploitation of reefs by the local communities, who depend on them for a livelihood, she informed.

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It is hoped that the community will no longer exploit the reefs as this can damage the marine ecosystem and instead, start to nurture mangrove seedlings that have been planted in the area, Utari said.

"Believe that if the mangrove trees can be preserved, the marine biota will be abundant. Later, it can increase the people's income," she said in a written statement.

In addition, the BRGM secretary stated that the program is part of the government's efforts to mitigate the impact of global climate change, in line with President Joko Widodo's directive.

Meanwhile, head of the Klamana Forest Farmers Group, Demianus Werbete, said that the government program has changed the mindset of the people regarding their livelihoods as the mangroves can be a source of additional income and help improve their economy.

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Moreover, the program involves residents directly in planting seedlings. "There are 40 people involved. We plant them (the seedlings) in a 50-hectare mangrove area," he informed.

Meanwhile, head of the Protected Forest Management Unit (KPHL) Unit II Sorong City, Ina Roselina Sikirit, said that the program is also in line with the goal of the government’s national economic recovery program.“There are a lot of crabs here. Mangrove roots are the crabs’ habitat, thus the program will have sustainable impact," she explained.

In addition, the mangrove forest can also be used as a tourism destination and the crabs can be sold as culinary gifts, she said.

Moreover, the rehabilitation can protect the beach from abrasion and prevent seawater intrusion, she added.

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Translator: Subagyo, Uyu Liman
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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