Coral and mangrove restorations are moving forward in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines
Both corals and mangroves play a very important role in protecting coastal communities as they form natural barriers that make the coastline more resilient to natural forces. They also serve as essential habitats for many different species, being their feeding or breeding ground. Of course, local populations and tourists alike enjoy the sight of corals and mangroves as well, hence why these ecosystems offer opportunities for recreation and the tourism sector. Unfortunately, coral reefs and mangroves face a myriad of local and global threats, including destructive fishing practices, climate change and plastic pollution. One of the components of the Ocean Governance Project is therefore dedicated to funding restoration projects in three countries in the Coral Triangle, where an immense diversity of coral species can be found.
In 2022, three restoration projects funded by the Ocean Governance project got the ball rolling with grant agreements between the restoration site authorities and our consortium partners WWF. The restoration sites are Tun Mustapha park in Sabah, Malaysia, the Derawan Marine Protected Area in the East Kalimantan Province of Indonesia, and mangrove forests in Balabac, Palawan, Philippines. Restoring coral reefs and mangroves involves raw materials, transportation and hands-on labour – having sufficient funding, therefore, is a critical element of success, and the Ocean Governance Project is very happy to provide these opportunities. Sabah Parks Director Dr Maklarin Lakim is convinced that the allocated funding will bring about significant change: “We are confident that with the half a million ringgit fund, we could have a football field-sized artificial reef.” At all three restoration sites, there is a big emphasis on community involvement. Including the coastal communities, fishermen, local NGOs and other stakeholders in the restoration efforts is necessary and a very powerful driver of change. Shuiab J. Astami, the Mayor of Balabac, says that “mangroves regenerate naturally but human activities like tan barking have degraded this ecosystem; today people plant mangroves for their benefit in the coming years.”
It is great to see that restoration works have begun in all three countries and are steadily moving forward. A big thank you goes out to our consortium partners WWF-Malaysia, WWW-Indonesia and WWF-Philippines for their collaboration and work on the ground.
For more information about the restoration sites go to Restoration in South-East Asia.