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How Important Are Wetland Ecosystems to Life?

One function of mangroves that is widely known by the community is as a very effective store of carbon stocks. However, from 2010 to 2019, mangrove cover has disappeared by more than 190 thousand hectares.

In fact, besides these functions, mangroves are also part of the wetland ecosystem which is very important for maintaining the balance of the ecosystem, as a habitat for many fauna, and as a source of livelihood for the surrounding community.

Apart from being carried by mangroves, this very vital role is also played by tropical peat ecosystems. But unfortunately, peat forests are also experiencing degradation up to 1.3 percent per year. Meanwhile, mangroves experience deforestation of up to 0.7 percent per year.

All of these data were officially published by the Ministry of National Development Planning of the Republic of Indonesia/National Development Planning Agency (Kemen PPN/BAPPENAS) when commemorating World Wetlands Day which was held on 2 February 2023.

The Minister of PPN/Head of BAPPENAS Suharso Monoarfa said that there had been land conversions for economic interests such as ponds, agricultural/plantation lands, and settlements. This fact is exacerbated by the absence of synchronization of planning for the management of wetland ecosystems which is thought to be the main cause of the reduced sustainability of peat and mangrove ecosystems.

According to him, carrying out synchronization is important because it will give maximum results in the management of peat and mangrove ecosystems. Moreover, because these two ecosystems are an important part of low-carbon development and achieving sustainable development goals.

Without good management, peat and mangrove ecosystems will experience a decrease in their carrying capacity and carrying capacity as a support for development and life. Also, both ecosystems can release carbon emissions back into the atmosphere.

“These conditions as a whole are the responsibility of multi-stakeholders both at the national and sub-national levels,” said Suharso Monoarfa as quoted from the official presentation released simultaneously.

He said, the management of the two ecosystems needs to be carried out in a holistic approach so that the function and role of the ecosystem can be maintained properly. Thus, maintaining land cover for the preservation of biodiversity, reducing carbon emissions, and the role of wetland ecosystems to support economic aspects can continue.

In order for the two ecosystems to carry out their roles and functions properly, a national strategy for proper management of wetlands is needed. The goal is that the strategy document can become a reference in formulating policies, plans and programs for the management of the two ecosystems for all stakeholders.

“Both government and non-government,” he said.

In addition, the national strategy document can also be used as a reference in carrying out the formulation of peat and mangrove ecosystem management policies in national and regional planning documents, both in the long, medium and annual terms.

As a reference document, the National Strategy for Wetland Management has gone through synchronization with various documents and development plans related to peat and mangrove ecosystems. In addition, documents will continue to be communicated in multi-stakeholder forums to address the dynamics and challenges in managing the two ecosystems.

Policy Integration

Acting Deputy for Maritime Affairs and Natural Resources for the Ministry of National Development Planning/BAPPENAS Vivi Yulaswati explained that the national strategy (Stranas) was implemented to support Indonesia’s target achievement towards Vision 2045, net zero emission 2060 or faster, as well as the Sustainable Development Goals Goals (TPB/SDGs).

He said the preparation of the National Strategy was carried out together with the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of PUPR, the ATR/BPN Ministry, the National Research and Innovation Agency, the Geospatial Information Agency, and the Peat and Mangrove Restoration Agency.

The document contains a strategy that addresses all aspects of mangrove and peat management. The strategy includes strengthening the regulatory framework, data and information management, technology, community participation, sustainable funding schemes, monitoring and evaluation frameworks.

“Also, law enforcement in the management and protection of peat and mangrove ecosystems,” he said.

Vivi Yulaswati added, with the presence of the Nastra, the wetland operations would be integrated into planning documents at the national level. For example, the 2025-2045 National Long-Term Development Plan, the 2025-2029 National Medium-Term RPJ (RPJMN), to regional-level planning documents from various stakeholders.

In addition to policies at the national level, he promised that the National Strategy would be implemented in development plan documents at the grassroots level, from the province to the regency or city. Thus, the management of peat and mangrove ecosystems is expected to be even better.

Broadly speaking, there are four quantitative targets of the National Strategy that have been set. First, the aspect of land cover. This is expected to simultaneously increase land cover and reduce the rate of peat degradation and mangrove deforestation.

Peat restoration is targeted on an area of ​​3,442,455 ha, with a target of replanting vegetation of 1,262,710 ha. Meanwhile, mangrove rehabilitation is targeted to cover an area of ​​245,087 ha, with a target of reducing the rate of deforestation to 6,989 ha per year in 2045.

Second, the aspect of biodiversity. This target is set to maintain, improve quality, and increase the number of conservation area units, as a form of increasing management institutions.

Third, the emission reduction aspect. In peat ecosystems it is targeted to reduce emissions by up to 84-93 percent, and in mangrove ecosystems it is targeted to reduce emissions by up to 87 percent. This target is expected to be achieved in 2045.

Fourth, the economic aspect. This target is to encourage economic utilization of peat restoration efforts and mangrove rehabilitation by increasing green jobs, as well as increasing the production of native peat and mangrove products up to 32.98 million tonnes.

It is known, with a total of 3,364,076 ha of mangrove forests, the carbon that can be absorbed is estimated at 11 billion tons with an estimated monetary value of USD 66 billion. Meanwhile, the area of ​​the peat ecosystem reaches 13.4 million ha and is useful for nurseries, supply of raw materials, and as a habitat for wildlife.

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