Boosting natural assets with mangrove restoration
As Uno and others highlighted during the visit, a big part of Sungsang IV’s tourism potential relies on its natural resources, including its mangrove forests. However, some of these forests are significantly degraded.
In that context, since 2021 the Centre for International Forestry Research and World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF), and local partners Sriwijaya University and the South Sumatra Watershed Forum (Forum DAS Sumsel), have been implementing a participatory action research project in the village to develop ecologically-feasible, locally-appropriate, and community-based business models for mangrove restoration. The project runs for four years and is supported by the Singapore-based Temasek Foundation.
During the research process, the community – alongside key stakeholders and government leaders at regency and provincial levels – agreed that to strengthen local tourism potential, mangroves must be billed as one of the main attractions. To that end, the community and research team established a mangrove nursery facility, which to date has produced more than 50,000 seedlings from seven different species – including the native Kandelia candel, which can only be found in certain parts of Indonesia.
The community is progressing mangrove restoration activities in selected ‘action arenas’ within the village, in accordance with its aims of coastal ecosystem enhancement and improved mangrove conditions for ecotourism. The arenas also serve as a ‘natural laboratory’ for visiting university students. CIFOR-ICRAF and its partners hope that the action research will strengthen ecotourism implementation and overall tourism potential to generate ecological, economic, and social benefits for Sungsang IV’s community.