by Bambang Purwanto
JAKARTA, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) -- Indonesia has been working for the restoration of mangrove forests in a number of areas in the Southeast Asian country so as to conserve the world's largest coverage of mangrove forests.
"We are replanting mangroves to protect against waves of sea waters, sea water intrusions, and also to protect the habitat of species in and around mangrove forests," President Joko Widodo said after a replanting activity on Tuesday, in which 180,000 hectares of mangrove forests will be rehabilitated.
From September onwards, the Indonesian president has visited some areas in the country including Cilacap district in Central Java province, Batam city in Riau Islands province and Badung district in Bali province where he planted mangroves.
"Our target is that in the next three years we will rehabilitate 600,000 hectares of mangrove forests. Indonesia has the largest mangrove forest coverage in the world, with an area of 3.36 million hectares," he noted.
The planting of mangroves in the coastal areas was also expected to increase fish production, he said, adding that the income of fishermen would therefore increase.
In addition, he said that mangrove rehabilitation will contribute greatly to the absorption of carbon emissions, confirming Indonesia's commitment to the Paris Agreement on climate change.
During one of the recent mangrove rehabilitation activities in North Kalimantan, Finnish Ambassador Jari Sinkari praised the steps the Indonesian government has taken to protect mangroves, as mangrove forests are very efficient in absorbing carbon dioxide.
Deputy Ambassador of Brazil Daniel Barra Ferreira noted that the mangrove rehabilitation program shows Indonesia's strong commitment to sustainable development.
Based on the 2021 National Mangrove Map launched by the Indonesian government on Oct. 13, the mangrove areas in Indonesia currently total 3,364,080 hectares or 20 percent of the total mangrove forests in the world. The size has increased by 52,873 hectares from the period between 2013 and 2019.