Environment - Sustainability

Protecting Mangroves Can Reduce Carbon Emission

As the home of the largest mangrove area in the world, Indonesia is a key player in the international blue carbon agenda. While it has over 22% of world’s mangroves, Indonesia is also facing rapid mangrove degradation.

Mangrove forests are important coastal ecosystems that support the productivity of the coastal zone within the tropics and subtropics. Mangrove provides multiple ecosystem services including the biogeochemical function in the carbon cycle. Science tells us that mangroves sequester and store carbon within standing biomass and soils at rates much higher than in terrestrial forests.  It is referred to as ‘blue’ carbon. The ‘Blue’ carbon stored in soils is a significant contributor to coastal sediment carbon storage, which, when left undisturbed, can be stored for millennia. The removal or conversion of mangroves to other land uses can contribute substantial greenhouse gases (GHG) into the atmosphere.

As the home of the largest mangrove area in the world, Indonesia is a key player in the international blue carbon agenda. While it has over 22% of world’s mangroves, Indonesia is also facing rapid mangrove degradation. Only 22% of mangrove forests in Indonesia are preserved in conservation areas and this contributes nearly a quarter of carbon stored in mangrove forests throughout Indonesia.  This article suggests a greater potential for climate change mitigation by increasing mangrove conservation areas to keeps mangrove forests from conversion to other land uses. Priority is needed for the large area of mangrove forests with high rates of mangrove loss.

Increasing the area of protected mangroves may offset the rate at which carbon is lost from disturbed mangrove forests, however this provides many challenges.  Challenges range from land tenure, lack of law enforcement, management conflicts, to lack of community involvement. To address these issues, a review published inWIREs Climate Change explores the opportunities and options that support carbon-financing activities and enhance communities’ benefits from carbon-based mangrove conservation strategies. Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) is a way to incentivize mangrove conservation to support climate change mitigation actions through promoting mangrove protection while enhancing community welfare and livelihoods at the same time. Thus, by protecting mangroves for carbon benefits, the multiple benefits of this ecosystem, such as fisheries, coastal protection and biodiversity, can also be sustained.

 

Kindly contributed by Frida Sidik.

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