Pangkalpinang, Babel - A local legislator of the Bangka Belitung Island Province have called for mangrove conservation in order to prevent coastal area erosion
"At present, mangrove forest in Babel is seriously damaged. If the damage continues to get worse, it will trigger erosion at the province‘s coastal area and will later negatively affect the activities of local fishermen and the ecology in general," Zulkarnaen Syamsuddin, one of the Babel legislators, said here on Thursday.
Bangka Belitung Island Province consists of 65,301 km2 of water area, and 18,000 km2 of land area. Mangrove trees used to grow well in the coastal area.
However, constructions of some infrastructures in the new province have encroached some parts of Babel Island‘s mangrove forest.
The Bangka Belitung Regional Legislative Council (DPRD) planned to draft a regulation to protect mangrove in the Sumatran province, he said.
Meanwhile, some 70 percent of Indonesia‘s remaining mangrove forests were damaged due to human activities, an expert said recently.
Dr. Cecep Kusmana, a professor at the Bogor Institute of Technology said that forestry ministry data shows about 6.7 million of Indonesia‘s 9.4 million hectares of mangrove forest were damaged, including 2.2 million of which were "seriously degraded." The figures do not include mangrove forest that has been cleared or converted for agriculture.
"The damages of the country mangrove forest areas were mainly due to human encroachment such as for settlement, ponds, and plantation," Kusmana was quoted as saying.
"Despite the vast damages, Indonesia relatively has better mangrove forest areas than other countries in the region, because Indonesia still has intact mangrove areas in on Papua and Kalimantan Islands."
Kusmana said mangroves play an important ecological role in Indonesia, serving as a refuge for wildlife and protecting against coastal erosion. He advocated conservation and rehabilitation of mangrove forests.
Source: www.antara.com (19 Juli 2007)