Atlas Pearls In Indonesia: Mangrove Planting In Pungu Island

July 06, 2018

Atlas Pearls In Indonesia: 
Mangrove Planting In Pungu Island

Pulau Pungu is well known for its mangrove forest.  Stretching along the shores between the two islands - Pulau Pungu Kecil and Pulau Pungu Besar - the mangroves grow thick and strong and healthy. Unfortunately, here on Pulau Pungu Kecil, there is also a large area of the tidal plain that has been de-forested.

There are many threats to mangroves around the world - severe weather events, coastal development, logging, pollution, and over grazing.  The story here is that the trees were cut back years ago to open the view from the huts that lined the beach when the island was home to a resort and not a pearl farm.  Now, walking around the forest, you can see the skeletal remains of tree roots polished and silvered by the sea and the sun.

Mangroves are vital to healthy coastal ecosystems.  They help to prevent coastal erosion and protect and stabilise low lying coastal lands.  Mangrove roots are natural water filters, absorbing pollutants from sewerage and water wastes.  Mangroves also provide a unique habitat serving as fish nurseries and nesting areas for birds as well as providing homes for a large variety of fish and crustaceans.

During the past 12 months, Atlas Pearls has planted over 2,500 Mangroves at Pulau Pungu Kecil.  Mangroves have been planted by No Roads Expeditions on their regular visits to Pungu, Atlas CSR staff on a regular basis, and the general public who were invited to plant during “Mangrove Week” held in June during World Oceans Day and World Environment Day.

In addition, Atlas Pearls has undertaken several mini research studies/experiments to determine which mangroves grow the best in different areas of the garden and island.  This has helped with the success rate of the seeds and seedlings by ensuring each seed is a good fit for the environment in which it is being planted.  As a result, there are dedicated areas of the garden to specific species that thrive in those places.

Atlas Pearls are also in the midst of a large scale erosion control experiment using concrete structures to protect vulnerable mangrove seeds from the harsh conditions of coastal areas.  It is our hope that these “pots” will serve to protect both the mangroves seeds and the shore line.  As time allows the mangrove seeds to grow, their root systems will grow over the concrete structures transforming the wall of pots into a living green barrier which will secure the coast line.  Hopefully!

You can see a timeline, photos and information about the Shore Protection Project HERE.


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