North Sumatra and Aceh provinces have been chosen by foreign sponsors as the locations for a mangrove-planting program for carbon sequestration in Indonesia.
The sequestration program is fully sponsored by eight foreign companies from France and Germany.
The foreign corporations, Danone Group, Schneider Electric, Credit Agricole Bank, Hermes International, Voyageurs du Mondo, La Poste Group and CDC Climat Bank from France and SAP Germany, have agreed to appoint non-governmental group Yagasu to implement the carbon-sequestration program.
Yagasu executive director Bambang Suprayogi said the program was the first of its kind in Indonesia, only the third country in the world after Senegal and India to carry out such a program.
“We must maintain this trust and responsibility and answer it with proof that Indonesia has the capability to run the program,” Bambang told The Jakarta Post on the sidelines of the Monitoring Livelihoods Project workshop at Grand Aston Hotel in Medan on Monday.
The workshop, which runs until Oct. 11, is being attended by representatives from the sponsor companies as well as other participants from France, Switzerland, Senegal, Mexico, India and Guatemala.
Bambang said that Indonesia was entrusted with managing the program for the next 20 years. He said the main focus of the program was planting as many mangrove trees as possible along the eastern coasts of both provinces. He estimated that at least 5,000 hectares of land would be planted by 2014.
“The cultivation of 5,000 hectares of mangrove trees will involve 2,012 families in 65 villages in 11 regencies and cities in both provinces,” he said.
He expected that Indonesia would be able to absorb 30 tons of carbon with the cultivation of 1,000 hectares of mangrove trees annually.
Livelihoods program director Jean-Pierre Rennaud, from France, said North Sumatra and Aceh were picked for the carbon sequestration due to their ecological wealth. Rennaud added that mangrove tree planting in both provinces was very urgent following the 2004 tsunami.
He said mangroves had many functions, including preventing coastal erosion and absorbing carbon. He said the corporations would continue to monitor and evaluate the mangrove planting program so as to get maximum results and benefits for the community at large.
Yagasu program community coordinator Meilinda Suryani said Indonesia had one of the largest mangrove areas in the world with 25 percent of the world’s total mangrove area of 18 million hectares.
Meilinda said mangrove forests contained a huge amount of organic materials which did not decay, so mangrove forests functioned more as a carbon absorber rather than a source of carbon. “Mangrove trees have more leaves so they have the potential to absorb more carbon than other plants,” she said.(/*)