Fri, 30 Nov 2001

Govt protects mangrove forests

SEMARANG: The government is committed to continue protecting mangrove forests, which have suffered widespread damage due to reckless tree felling along the country's seashores, an official announced on Monday.

"The protection of existing mangrove forests is ensured through the issuance of regional regulations on the importance of replanting the damaged woodland," said Irfandi Idris, director of seashore development at the Central Java marines and fishery office.

Speaking at a get-together on mangrove reforestation along Java's northern coastline, Irfandi said that, out of the original total of 4.25 million hectares of mangrove forests in Indonesia, only about 25 percent remains.

The condition of mangrove forests is so poor that it needs proper handling to maintain them, he said.

Irfandi said that in Java alone, only five to 10 percent of the island's indigenous mangrove forest still exist. Reforestation, therefore, was urgently needed.

The issuance of regional regulations on the protection of mangrove forests show the regional government's attention to the environment in the current regional autonomy era, he said.

He explained that reforestation of mangrove forests along the northern coastline of Java, from Banten, Bekasi, Kerawang, Pekalongan, Rembang to Banyuwangi, had begun this year. --JP