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Story Publication logo September 14, 2023

Damage to Sumatra's East Coastal Ecosystem Due to Mangrove Deforestation — Part 2 (bahasa Indonesia)

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This story excerpt was translated from bahasa Indonesia. To read the original story in full, visit Kompas.com. You may also view the original story on the Rainforest Journalism Fund website. Our website is available in EnglishSpanishbahasa IndonesiaFrench, and Portuguese.

Lanskap pesisi Pantai Labu, Deli Serdang, Sumatera uatar yang banyak berubah dari hutan mangrove menjadi peternakan dan tambak udang. Hutan mangrove hampir hilang dari pesisir pantai di wilayah ini kerena pembukaan tambak udang yang massive di awal tahun 1980-an. Kini lahan banyak berganti fungsi menjadi peternaan ayam dan pemukiman. Menurut keterangan warga, daratanpun kian berkurang karena naiknya permukaan air. Binsar Bakkara
The coastal landscape of Labu Beach, Deli Serdang, North Sumatra has changed from mangrove forests to livestock and shrimp ponds. Mangrove forests have almost disappeared from the coast in this area due to the massive opening of shrimp ponds in the early 1980s. Now many lands have changed their function to become chicken farms and residential areas. According to residents, the land is decreasing due to rising water levels. Image by Binsr Bakkara/Kompas.com.

MEDAN—The east coast of North Sumatra that stretches from Langkat to Labuhanbatu Utara is facing severe challenges.

Environmentally unfriendly practices such as encroachment, land clearing for aquaculture, oil palm plantations, mangrove charcoal industry, and sand dredging are the main causes of the destruction of the green belt.

In Paluh Sibaji Village, Pantai Labu Subdistrict, Deli Serdang Regency, fishermen face an increasingly worrying abrasion problem. Mangrove forests with a thickness of hundreds of meters have disappeared. Now only a few mangroves remain as the last bastion.

Onrizal, an expert in tropical ecology and biodiversity conservation at the Faculty of Forestry, University of North Sumatra, said that mangrove deforestation began when large-scale shrimp and fish farming took off in the 1970s.


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"Apart from ponds, the cause of coastal deforestation is the conversion of land into oil palm plantations. We can see for ourselves in Langkat, Deli Serdang, Serdang Bedagai and Labuhanbatu, which used to be ponds (now) turned into oil palm plantations. There are also mangrove forests that used to be cleared to become oil palm plantations. Another pressure is mangrove charcoal," he said.

Severe abrasion generally occurs along the east coast of Sumatra.  One of them is in Paluh Sibaji Village, Pantai Labu District, Deli Serdang.  This abrasion is strongly suspected to be the result of sand dredging for the airport in 2008.
Severe erosion generally occurs along the east coast of Sumatra. One of them is in Paluh Sibaji Village, Pantai Labu District, Deli Serdang. This erosion is strongly suspected to be the result of sand dredging for the airport in 2008. Image by Dewantoro. Indonesia, 2023.
The remaining mangrove forest in Pangkalan Susu, North Sumatra.  Most of it has been cleared for lobster cultivation and is now being turned into oil palm plantations and private management under the guise of mangrove tourism.  Binsar Bakkara
The remaining mangrove forest in Pangkalan Susu, North Sumatra. Most of it has been cleared for lobster cultivation, and some of it is now being turned into oil palm plantations with private management under the guise of mangrove tourism. Image by Binsr Bakkara/Kompas.com.
Selamat or Amat shows virgin cockles produced from cultivation in the mangrove area on Jalan Young Panah Hijau, Labuhan Deli District, Medan City.  The community really feels the benefits of preserving mangroves, the planting of which is carried out independently and then supported by a number of parties.
Selamat or Amat shows virgin cockles produced from cultivation in the mangrove area on Jalan Young Panah Hijau, Labuhan Deli District, Medan City. The community really feels the benefits of preserving mangroves, the planting of which is carried out independently and then supported by a number of parties. Image by Dewantoro. Indonesia, 2023.

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