52% of mangrove forests in Indonesia are in damaged condition. If this continues, coastal residents will lose their homes, and coastal biota will become extinct. In the long term, the ecosystem becomes unbalanced, and we (who live far from the coast) will be affected.
The Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK) said that 1.81 million hectares of mangroves in Indonesia were damaged. This value is even three times wider than the area of Bali Island.
The main cause of this damage is due to human actions, in the form of land use change, infrastructure development, settlements, and illegal logging.
Then if it is damaged, what will be the impact? So far, the impact has not felt yet.
If you live far from the coast, you don’t feel it first.Especially if you live in a city, whatever happened there, has no impact on your life.
But is that really true?
The principle of ecosystem balance
Before discussing the specific impact of mangrove damage, let us first understand the principle of ecosystem balance.
We live in an overlapping ecosystem between one creature, the environment, and other living things.
Each living thing has its own role in the ecosystem, so that the life cycle can run well.
If any living species are missing, there will be a domino effect in the ecosystem.If an imbalance occurs, other species are also destroyed or even damaged the ecosystem as a whole.
Lions or wolves, which are generally considered to be destructive, in fact have an important role in controlling herbivores that eat plants (such as deer).
If the wolves are killed, there will be an increase in herbivore populations and damage to plants, and then damage to the ecosystem as a whole.
This is what happened in America’s Yellowstone National Park in the 1800s.
At first glance , Orangutans seem to has a hobby of eating and hanging but in fact, they play a very important role.
With their unique behavior, orangutans are very important seed dispersing agents in tropical rain forests.
Bees, insects, and other small animals are often underestimated. In fact, it is the key holder in the process of pollinating plants.
Without it, plant growth is not sufficient for consumer needs, resulting in damage to subsequent stages.
The point is that every component in the ecosystem has its own role, and the damage to one component will have an impact on other components.
Likewise in the case of mangrove forest damage, which disrupt the ecosystem have an impact on humans.
What can mangroves do?
Mangroves can save our lives.
It acts as a defensive bull between land and sea. If there are no mangroves, at least three of these things will happen, followed by other successive impacts.
1.Erosion and beach abrasion
The blow of the sea water slowly erodes the land. If this continues, land in the coastal area will be lost.
Mangroves have roots that are efficient for protecting land from erosion by sea water.
2.Sea water intrusion
Sea water seeps into the land, which causes the groundwater to become brackish, making it unsuitable for consumption.
Mangroves can deposit mud at their roots, which inhibits seawater seepage into the land.
3.Damage to the ecosystem
Mangrove forests are home to various living things. Damage of mangrove forests means damage to the creatures that inhabit it and destroying one component of the ecosystem.In time, these damage will reach us.
Direct impact on the coast
This real impact occurred in the Muara Gembong Beach area, Bekasi in 2013.
The mangrove forest area along Muara Gembong Beach was badly damaged.
As a result, coastal abrasion occurred like crazy, causing three villages to disappear.The villages are Pantai Bahagia Village, Pantai Mekar Village and Pantai Sederhana Village.
The same thing happened in the surrounding area.
At first, the coastline is 5 kilometers away. After the mangrove forest is damaged, the coastline is only 1 kilometer away.This is also exacerbated by the sea water that often rises and causes flooding in residential areas.
Impact for those of you who live far from coastal areas.
Even though your place of residence is far from the coast, don’t think you will not be affected by mangrove damage.
As previously stated, mangrove forests are a habitat for various kinds of living things.
Some of the flora (plants) that live in mangrove forests include:
- Calophyllum inophyllum
- Acacia plant
- Palm tree
- Tamarind tree
- River tamarind
The fauna (animals) that live in mangrove forests include:
- Fiddler crab, orange crab, climber, semapor
- Mangrove hermit crabs, Land hermit crabs
- Snapping shrimp
Mangroves also provide nursery habitat for many wildlife species, including commercial fish and crustaceans, and thus contribute to maintaining abundant local fish and shellfish populations.