Seagrass Coverage Accounts Only 40 Percent in Indonesia

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Jakarta (Greeners) – Scientists recorded poor condition for the country’s 40 percent of seagrass, in Jakarta on Friday (14/7).

“Based on Ministry of Environment and Forestry Decision Number 200 Year 2004, seagrass which only covers 40 percent means that it’s on poor state. From all those areas validated, only five percent in excellent condition, such as in Biak, Papua. Even in conservation areas such as Wakatobi and Lombok, they’re not in good condition,” said head of oceanography of Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), Dirhamsyah.

Seagrass is the only flower plant capable of adapting with ocean which grows on different substrate and form seagrass beds.

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Nurul Dhewani, one of the researcher, said to monitor seagrass in Indonesia, the team counted and validated areas located in 423 locations throughout the country.

The result showed that Indonesia has 150,000 hectares of seagrass beds.

Furthermore, Dhewani said that clear coverage of seagrass can give indications on its condition and potential.

If there’s a decrease, it shows pressure or threat on the ecosystem. On the contrary, if it’s stable or increase, it means high potential to be sustainable.

“Indonesia holds the largest seagrass coverage among other ASEAN nations,” she said.

Seagrass decrease in Indonesia, she added, was caused by human activities. Coastal reclamation for port development, industries and housing, have direct impact on the loss of seagrass.

Environmental pressure caused by household, farming, and industry pollution and sedimentation, decreases habitat quality leads to declining state of seagrass.

Not environmentally friendly fisheries activities would also damage seagrass. Meanwhile, its existence provides huge benefit for human as it supports fisheries resources in Indonesia, for instance baronang fish, crab and shellfish.

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In addition, seagrass also helps to reduce climate change impacts by absorbing carbon dioxide emission. Seagrass also block waves, capture and stabilize sediment to make water clearer.

“For seagrass to bring benefits for people in the long term, conservation efforts must also prevent activities threatening the ecosystem,” he said. “In addition, seagrass transplantation can also be done to restore damaged/lost seagrass and created new seagrass beds.”

Reports by Danny Kosasih