JAKARTA: The massive extraction of mangrove forest by local communities is threatening the sustainability of mangroves in South Kalimantan, an official says.
South Kalimantan Environment Agency head Rakhmadi Kurdi said Monday that mangrove forests in several of Kalimantan’s coastal areas had been severely damaged.
“Many local people fell mangrove trees, which have wood that is more than 30 centimeters in diameter. They use it as support structures and for the walls of their homes,” he said.
Rakhmadi said no comprehensive research on mangrove destruction in South Kalimantan had been carried out so far but the massive destruction of mangrove in Aluh-Aluh in Banjar regency and Kualalapuk in Barito Kuala regency was evident.
South Kalimantan has more than 100,000 hectares of mangrove spread over five regencies: Kotabaru, Tanahbambu, Tanahlaut, Banjar and Barito Kuala.
Rakhmadi said special ports for coal and palm oil had significantly contributed to the destruction of mangrove forests. “In 2010, the local government closed 10 coal ports inside forested areas and mangrove conservation areas because of the negative impact on forest sustainability,” he said, as quoted by kompas.com.
Mangrove destruction has not been balanced with adequate efforts to recultivate mangrove in those areas. On Kaget Island in the middle of the Barito River, for example, only 5,000 mangrove trees have been planted since 2008, whereas about 42 hectares or 50 percent of the island’s total area have been turned into agriculture sites. — JP