Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Kids are Acting Up Again

MAP Indonesia celebrated International Mangrove Day on July 26 at Losari Beach Boulevard in downtown Makassar, South Sulawesi.  The context for the event is the large-scale historical conversion of mangroves in the Province to aquaculture (>75% of 110,000 ha of mangroves converted).  The event made communities aware that mangrove forests, small and large, still exist in South Sulawesi, and that local communities have recently undertaken 400 ha of restoration in disused aquaculture ponds.

MAP-Indonesia presentations brought to light six important issues that are included in South Sulawesi's recent Provincial Mangrove Strategy;
1) a moratorium on conversion of mangroves to fish ponds, 2) improved spatial planning mangrove conservation, 3) community based mangrove rehabilitation and management, 4) targeted restoration of disused and abandoned shrimp ponds, 5) improvement of current poor restoration and rehabilitation practices with promotion of processes like Ecological Mangrove Rehabilitation and 6) improved extension services to current fish farmers, focusing on participatory learning processes such as Fish Farmer Field School as a way to reduce the pressures for expansion and improve rural coastal livelihoods.

The highlight of the event was a skit put on by students from Ongkoa Elementary School of Takaklar District, one of 21 schools engaged MAP's environmental education program.  The skit depicted the plight of the mangroves over the years, along with actions to promote mangroves both locally and globally.  They used placards printed with local mangrove facts to raise awareness during and after the skit (see photos).  This event was attended by environmental NGO's, local Universities (UNHAS, UNISMUH, GTI), government agencies, and coastal communities along with thousands of passers-by on busy Losari Boulevard.

An hour away by sea, on Tanakeke Island, students from six villages were gathering ripe mangrove fruits from existing forests, and setting them free on the rising tide to continue to re-establish mangroves in 400 hectares of aquaculture ponds which were hydrologically rehabilitated  over the past 3 years as part of the CIDA and OXFAM funded Restoring Coastal Livelihoods project.

For the Mangrove
Ratna Fadillah and Ben Brown

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