Located on the northern coast of Papua is a spectacular island called Biak, where we work with our partner Eden Projects to plant many species of Mangrove trees.
Indonesia is one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet and consists of over 17,000 islands. Together, with our partners Eden Projects, we provide jobs to over 100 local villagers by planting mangrove trees in areas struggling to recover from natural disasters.
Total Trees Planted
Over twenty years ago, a major tsunami hit Biak island. The village of Korem saw half of its population wiped out overnight. Since then, the villagers have moved into a more protected area while working to rebuild their lives.
In Mnurwar, the mangrove estuary that locals depended on to support the fish population was virtually wiped out. Over 1000 hectares were destroyed, leaving the local fishing communities struggling to support their families.
In many ways, Biak seems more a part of Papua New Guinea than Indonesia. The locals share resemblance to the native Indonesian Aboriginese and speak different dialects than the main islands. As a result, they face significant racism which leads to a number of challenges around employment, lack of government support, and very little education funding.
The majority of these villages struggle to find stable income. The men support their family through fishing while women find odd jobs and work labour to supplement their income to pay for the bare essentials. In many of these areas, the lack of stability leads to the villagers making desperate actions: sand mining, dynamite fishing, and crime to support their families.
Oftentimes, the only way to step out of poverty is to get an education and move into the city. Unfortunately, due to a lack of government support, the locals have no funding for public schooling. Without consistent income, the majority of villagers never complete their education and never lift their families out of poverty. It leads to a cycle of poverty that is incredibly tough to break.
Mangroves can sequester up to 4 times more carbon than any other tree species. The majority of carbon stored by mangroves lies within their root systems. These massive root systems also serve as a key erosion prevention mechanism.
Wildlife and Fishing
The mangrove trees planted in coastal regions have shown to significantly impact the habitat for fish, crab, and shrimp. This food source is what local villages rely on. Without a reliable food source, communities have no choice but to turn to deforestation for income.
One of the most important impacts of coastal mangroves is their ability to protect communities from extreme weather events. Wind and swell waves are greatly reduced as they pass through mangroves, lessening wave damage during storms.
Mangrove trees provide firewood to communities and villages around Biak.
Timber is used for local building projects. Continual access to timber leads to the growth of strong villages.
Biomass is a material used for energy production, or industrial processes as a raw material.
Mangrove trees provide a habitat for local wildlife and support the natural ecosystem.
Our focus in Indonesia is to plant Mangrove trees in the southern area of an island called Biak—just north of Papua New Guinea. The species of mangroves are carefully selected by our partners to ensure the highest survivability rate and optimal diversity.
The majority of the trees we plant in Indonesia are the following mangrove species; Bruguiera, Avicennia, and Ceriops. Each of these species have unique characteristics that help support a balanced ecosystem opportunity for natural regeneration.
Seed (Propagule) Collection
Mangrove “seedlings” are called “Propagules” and are dropped from the branches of mature trees. Once the propagules are collected, they are sorted, counted, and carefully stored for the next planting session.
A major part of the planting process in coastal areas is the clearing of debris (dead trees, stumps, branches, etc). This debris makes it extremely difficult to maneuver when planting, and is a great risk to destroying freshly planted propagules.
Each sack of propagules can weigh up to 50lbs and is transported by canoe. The most difficult element of transportation is timing the tides within the mangrove channels to ensure the planting crews are able to safely return back to the village.
Planters must walk through thick, black, waist-high mud to distribute the propagules. The seedlings are carefully pushed into the mud 3-4 inches. A crew of 12 planters in a single day will typically plant around 20,000 trees.
In order to improve the quality of restoration projects, we need to continuously monitor the work being done. With our partners Eden Projects we have been able to implement an offline data collection system that tracks when, where, and who planted the trees using mobile devices and weather-proof backup technology. With this, we can gather images from the field and data for improving the success of a project.
Eden Reforestation Projects
Eden Reforestation projects reduces extreme poverty and restores healthy forests by employing local villagers to plant millions of trees every year
Meet Your Planting Team
National Director for Indonesia
National Director for Indonesia