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Mangrove forest decline: consequences for livelihoods and environment in South Sulawesi

Abstract

Mangrove forests in the tropics and subtropics grow in saline sediments in coastal and estuarine environments. Preservation of mangrove forests is important for many reasons, including the prevention of coastal erosion and seawater intrusion; the provision of spawning, nursery, and feeding grounds of diverse marine biota; and for direct use (such as firewood, charcoal, and construction material)—all of which benefit the sustainability of local communities. However, for many mangrove areas of the world, unsustainable resource utilization and the profit orientation of communities have often led to rapid and severe mangrove loss with serious consequences. The mangrove forests of the Takalar District, South Sulawesi, are studied here as a case area that has suffered from degradation and declining spatial extent during recent decades. On the basis of a post-classification comparison of change detection from satellite imagery and a survey of households, we provide an estimate of the mangrove change in the Takalar District during 1979–2011 and the consequences of those changes. Mangrove forest areas were reduced by 66.05 % (3344 hectares) during the 33-year period of analysis, and the biggest annual negative change in dense mangrove forest cover (8.37 %) occurred during the period 2006–2011. The changes were caused mainly by the mangrove clearing and conversion to aquaculture, and consequences have been increasing forest degradation, coastal abrasion, seawater intrusion, a decline in fish capture, a reduction in juvenile shrimp and milkfish, and outbreaks of shrimp disease. On the other hand, the clearing and impoundment of mangrove forests for shrimp and seaweed culture have provided a source of foreign exchange and new opportunities for employment in the study area.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Nypa fruticans, a common component of mangrove forests, is valued primarily for its fruit and sap production, medicinal purposes, and leaves, which are crafted for various purposes.

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Acknowledgments

We would like to thank the Directorate of Higher Education, Ministry of Education and Culture, Republic of Indonesia, for their financial support of this research in collaboration with Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, University of Copenhagen. We also thank the Department of Geography, State University of Makassar (UNM), and the Government of South Sulawesi and Takalar District for their support of our research. We also thank the two anonymous reviewers and the handling editor Dr. Virginia Burkett for excellent comments and suggestions.

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Correspondence to Abdul Malik.

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Malik, A., Mertz, O. & Fensholt, R. Mangrove forest decline: consequences for livelihoods and environment in South Sulawesi. Reg Environ Change 17, 157–169 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10113-016-0989-0

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Keywords

  • Mangrove forest
  • Forest degradation
  • Livelihoods
  • Remote sensing