Conservation benefit: Protection of 741-acre mangrove forest for 15 years
Community benefit: Community and mangrove education center, 200-meter bridge into forest
The community of Setapuk Besar, on the west coast of Borneo, is responsible for a stretch of mangrove forest along three kilometers of coastline. The mangroves provide habitat for the rufous-backed kingfisher, white stork, sea eagles, and other species. The long-beaked common dolphin and economically beneficial species of crabs, shrimp, and scallops are also found there.
Since colonial times, Indonesian governments have encouraged clearing mangroves to make room for coconut plantations. The results have been disastrous: erosion, wave damage, and saltwater intrusion into the rice and vegetable fields, and the loss of fish and shellfish.
The community, keenly aware of the mangrove ecosystem’s importance, has pledged to conserve its 741-acre mangrove forest, both protecting existing trees and planting new ones. The local fishermen’s group patrols the existing mangroves and replants cleared areas.
Seacology will fund a community center that will house photos, videos, and written material on mangrove ecosystems and propagation. The fishermen plan to hold workshops on replanting: how to select mangrove propagules, how to pot them, and how to plant them. The building will also function as an interpretive center for the 1,500 tourists who visit each year.
The Seacology grant will also fund a bridge into the mangroves, facilitating visits by tourists and by volunteers who are replanting and patrolling the area.