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Setapuk Besar


Conservation benefit: Protection of 741-acre mangrove forest for 15 years

Community benefit: Community and mangrove education center, 200-meter bridge into forest

Date Approved: 02.2017


This project protects mangroves, which trap more CO2 than any other kind of forest and as a result, slow global warming.

The community of Setapuk Besar, on the west coast of Borneo, is responsible for a three-kilometer stretch of mangrove forest along the 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. Loss of mangroves has worsened erosion, wave damage, and saltwater intrusion into the rice and vegetable fields. There has been a noticeable loss of fish and shellfish.

The community is keenly aware of the mangrove ecosystem’s importance. It 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.

Working with the Pontianak Urban Forest group, Seacology will fund a community center. The fishermen plan to hold workshops on replanting: how to select mangrove propagules, and how to pot and plant them. The building will also function as an interpretive center for the 1,500 tourists who visit each year. It will house photos, videos, and written material on mangrove ecosystems and propagation.

The Seacology grant will also fund a bridge into the mangroves. The structure will facilitate visits by tourists and by volunteers who are replanting and patrolling the area.

Project Updates

May 2018

Because of a favorable exchange rate, the community was able to use its Seacology grant to add two toilets and a small gazebo used by forest guards and visitors.

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January 2018

The mangrove education center is being used for forest studies with students, tourism, and developing livelihoods. Community fishing groups are managing the mangroves in Setapuk Besar. Faculty and students from the forestry department at Tanjung Pura University in Pontianak are conducting research and helping to rehabilitate the mangrove forest.

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May 2017

According to Field Representative Irman Meilandi, the project is almost complete. The community center and wooden bridge into the mangroves are about 90% built. The 200-meter wooden bridge can now be used for monitoring and tourism. Every Saturday and Sunday, about 2,000 local tourists come to visit.

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