Our initial program was on species and forest conservation. Since 2011, we transformed our program to implement field actions on mangrove restoration and protection for carbon credits. Our activities include: (a) biodiversity conservation; (b) climate change mitigation and adaptation through ecosystem restoration and protection; (c) generating government policy support and public mandate; (d) scientific research and building networks; (e) revitalizing community capacity and building common heritage, identity and social visions; and (f) social business development.
Since beginning 2020, we have restructured the organization that focus on field implementation of land-use climate change mitigation and adaptation. Our current mission is to increase resilience of most vulnerable communities and reduce emissions from land-use change. We fulfil a unique role – providing space and finance for environmental and community development program that: (a) ecosystem resilience strengthened, (b) social resilience of local communities increased; and (c) economic resilience improved through facilitation of income generation activities for local communities on sustainable social business.
The outcomes of coastal program are to strengthen adaptive capacity of coastal people to the sea level and reduced GHG emissions through mangrove restoration and coastal green-belt protection. We conduct various field actions to increase environmental carrying capacity of coastal ecosystem in the coast of Northern Sumatra for carbon sequestration, natural disaster risk reduction and local livelihood improvement. Our current program is stretching along 2,034 km coastline crossing 28 districts/towns in Aceh, North Sumatra and Riau province. The long-term target is to ensure coastal ecosystem in the program sites contributing to the Sumatra’s future ecological, social and economic development.
The long-term goal is expected to be achieved through accomplishment of outputs and deliverables that include: (1) ecosystem resilience (mangrove restoration, mangrove protection, scientific research and village policy initiatives); (2) social resilience (public engagement, awareness program and training on disaster prevention); and (3) economic resilience (economic valuation of mangrove ecosystem, capacity building for beneficiaries, develop revolving funds and cooperatives, market development, business analysis and Business Plan).
After 15 years (Jan 2005 to Dec 2019) of program implementation and completion of project activities include:
- The Community Patrolling Unit (MPU) will be extended Riau province that cover 90,000 ha for REDD+ implementation;
- MPU operations and local village policies on VLP, MPA and VR have successfully reduced the threats of illegal logging and land conversion to the level of below 5%.
Mangrove Carbon Stocks and Its Sequestration
- Average mangrove vegetation carbon stocks (2 -30 years) vary from 231.9 tCO2e/ha (D30 allometry) to 297.6 tCO2e/ha (D302H allometry) and the average vegetation sequestration also vary from 19.8 tCO2e/ha/yearto 29.4 tCO2e/ha/year.
- Average mangrove soil carbon stock is 1,030.9 tCO2e/ha and average soil sequestration is 11.7 tCO2e/ha/year.
- The long-term program impact will sequester 7,749,000 – 10,110,600 tCO2e over 20 years from 12,300 ha mangrove restoration; and18,850,000 – 27,550,000tCO2ha/year over 20 years from 25,000 ha mangrove protection.
- Our mangrove carbon research findings will publish 5 scientific journals.
- The stable condition of mangrove ecosystem has conserved 23 species of mangroves, 8 species of mammals, 16 species of reptiles and amphibians, 32 species of invertebrates (crab, shrimp, jelly fish, etc), 73 species of birds, 41 species fishes and 9 species migratory birds.
- The ecosystem also supported the commercial biodiversity: 7 – 12 tons of crab, 3 – 5 tons of shrimp and 500 – 700 tons of fish per week for non-stop production through the year.
Leverages of the program
- 2 villagers and 1 Yagasu staff working for the program received national environmental award “Kalpataru” (Syahdan – 2013, Rusli – 2014 and Meilinda - 2019) for their dedication on mangrove restoration and protection.
- One of the program staff received a nomination of “Rolex” international award from swiszerland.
- Mangrove ecosystem in each village has various direct and indirect values from USD 648,320 in Rugemuk to USD 45,922,675 in Tanjung Rejo.
- Yagasu conducted training and provided capital, equipment and materials for local communities to operate the village business on organic mangrove “batik”, mangrove eco-tourism, organic silvio-fishery, Nypa leaf business development, soft-crab farm,shrimp-paste production, mangrove food processing, duck-egg production,dried/salted fish and other small village business;
- Average income of local community increase 49% from 190 USD per family per month to 283 USD per family per month after 6 years program implementation.
- Social business run by local communities received additional supports from local governments through annual village fund “dana desa”, CSR funds from National Electricity Company (PLN), Pertamina, Pelindo 1 Belawan, Harper Wahid Hasyim Medan hotel, and potential co-investment from national/international private companies.
Combined climate change factors, sea-level rise vulnerability and non-climate factors (land-use change and deforestation) have created impacts on the fragility of coastal ecosystem, flora/fauna and human life. This condition have affected serious problems on: (1) frequent floods and coastal erosion (Langkat district and other areas); (2) loss of natural resources supporting subsistence of local economy (Pangkalan Siata- and Pantai Labu village); (3) marginalization and displacement of coastal population, food insecurity and loss of job opportunities (1.6m people live below poverty line in Northern Sumatra); (4) stress over water resources (saline water intrusion into freshwater aquifers causing the loss of clean water for 3,600 inhabitants (Jaring Halus village); (5) unequal redistribution of income transforming public goods into single-use private resources (aquaculture); and (6) totally village lost and community settlement sink (Tapak Kuda-, Suden- and Pusong Village). The fatal impacts when tsunami hit the degraded coastal ecosystem in Aceh resulted in loss over 200,000 human life, destroyed 127,000 houses and caused 600,000 local people homeless and jobless. This is one of the biggest catastrophic disaster, not only Indonesia but also on the earth.
Social Root Causes and Barriers
- Coastal communities, mostly women and children are living in low standard of health, lack of sanitation and limited access to clean water.
- Due to living in poverty, most of coastal communities, especially infants, pregnant women, and elders are malnourished.
- Most of coastal families have very low formal education. Many of them are graduated from primary school level and some of them are illiterate (unable to read and can’t write).
- The daily life of coastal communities is traditionally dominated by men and they call woman as “a home person who only have the responsibility to raise children and to cook”.
- The government budget from local and national institutions is very limited to eradicate the poverty of coastal people.
Economic Root Causes and Barriers
- Land rights and access to coastal natural resources are the main obstacles in the program location. More than 90% of coastal population does not have land ownership status. Therefore, most of them are working as labourers or gather natural resources from the coastal ecosystem.
- The production level of coastal communities is still very low due to the absence of technological intervention and lack of supervisions. Most products collected from nature are sold in cash every day.
- Access to affordable financing remains a challenge for most coastal communities without access to equity investment or long-term loans.
- Our past and present supports for Income Generating Activities (IGAs) are still does not meet a commercial, unprofitable, and unsustainable business principle. All community businesses are in scattered locations, run by individual and not well organized.
- Connection to markets are often inefficient with many intermediaries, complex informal networks of middlemen that reduce a significant part of the value.
- Uncertainity ofcommunity product prices are not only threaten village business but also for all private and public actors involved in reducing poverty.
- Intensive aqua farming in open space without mangrove vegetation cover has helped maximize productivity but also trapped fishermen in monoculture throughout the area and generating negative impact on soils and biodiversity.
Ecosystem Root Causes and Barriers
- The CGB vegetation cover has reduced 68% in Riau province and 81% in Aceh province. This degraded ecosystem causing various social-, economic- and environmental threats to coastal communities.
- Overexploitation and unsustainable aquaculture farming and fishing practices tend to magnify the impacts of these changes of natural resources. There are plenty of examples where improper practices have made the ecological and social conditions of the ecosystem becoming worst.
- The challenges of coastal community in the coming decades is about how to win the battles against global climate change impacts such as sea-level rise, extreme wheater events, and biodiversity loss due to land-use change and deforestation.
- Most of regulatory frameworks in Indonesia are centralized and can not cover the different and complexity circumstances of each village problems.
- Lack of technology for mapping and monitoring of field activities that can be accessed on-line and on-time basis.