Minggu, 24 Juli 2016

The Island of A Thousand Bats

Travelling seems to be quite a trend in recent years. People starts a trip and upload photos of their journey in social media. Tourism has become the most promising commercial sector. Unfortunately, this then becomes a paradox when the environment starts malfunctioning due to irresponsible tourists. Bad management is also one of the factors.
Ecotourism then became one alternative that proclaimed by the government and non government institutions to encourage tourism in Indonesia. Not just as a place to enjoy the natural landscape but also awareness over environmental preservation. Looking for an advantage in a way that is environmentally friendly. Ecotourism is also expected to improve the welfare of society, cultural development and improve education. In Indonesia, many places that already serve ecotourism, such as Taman Wisata Kawah Ijen crater, Agrowisata Hutan Mangrove Lagoi, Lawang Sewu, Desa Wisata Penglipuran and others. One of the places that will be a place for ecotourism is Pannikiang Island, Barru. Mangrove forests are scattered throughout the island into an attractive tourist destination.


In order to commemorate the International Mangrove Day that falls every July 26, Blue Forests held a series of activities themed Future Mangrove; From Grey to Green. One of them, is educational trip that working with BPBD and BLHD Barru which invites the community of bloggers and photographers to visit Pannikiang Island on Saturday, July 23, 2016. This activity as one example of ecotourism, enjoy nature at the same time learn about the mangrove. After this activity, the participants will write and share trip photos of activities to compete and inspire a lot of people in the conservation of mangroves.

Participants and committe of the edu-trip


Mangrove forests of Pannikiang Island


About 91% of the mangrove covered land Pannikiang Island with good conditions and dense. In Indonesia there are 43 kinds of true mangroves. This amount is more than the other countries. 17 types are grown on the island of Pannikiang. One of the participants of this trip named Zoe, is from Florida, claims to be very interested because there are only 3 types of mangrove on his home country. During this trip, Blue Forest Foundation staffs describes mangrove in Pannikiang. Types of mangrove which grew on this island such as Rhizopora, Avicennia Marina, Bruguiera, Sonneratia and others.







Mangrove has many uses. Propagule or mangrove fruit made into meal or can be processed into chips but almost no utilization of mangrove fruit. Mangrove roots and stems are often made as firewood by the community. It is said that the use of the mangrove wood makes cuisine more palatable than ordinary wood. These forests also serve withstand abrasion which can potentially cause a storm also filter the salt water of the sea so that people easily find brackish water around the forest. In addition, mangrove plants capable of binding carbon five times stronger than other ordinary plants. So today mangrove forest conservation has to be done to tackle global warming. Mangrove forest also become a habitat for many animals.  Woodpeckers, Heron and also bat inhabit at Pannikiang Island. Because of the large number of bat hence the island is called Pannikiang, comes from the local language, Panniki means the bat.

The number of mangrove forests in Indonesia lately declined due to the expansion of embankment. Indonesia has already lost about 40% of the mangrove forests until now. Transfer of this function have a major impact. Earnings from farmed land  are indeed larger than the mangrove forests, but only lasts 3 to 5 years. After the fifth year, the production cost of embankment is usually more expensive than the result so that most of the embankment were left abandoned. In addition lead to easy the storm came, the animals that were once living rely on mangroves also lost their habitats.


Mangrove rehabilitation at Bawa Salo'e, Barru

Therefore, the Blue Forests bend over backwards restoring mangrove forests in Indonesia. For example, the Tanakeke Island in Takalar rehabilitated since 3 years ago. The rehabilitation process usually takes up to 5 years with no easy process. Indeed many government efforts to rehabilitate mangrove forests but failed due to lack of observation and not sustainable. One example of the failure of the mangrove rehabilitation is in Bawa Salo'e, Barru. The rehabilitation process such as urge people around, observing by knowing what type of which used to grow, improve the environment by giving good water channels, and others. Replanting is the last business should do if its natural rehabilitation failed. Some parts of the island of Pannikiang has also been changed to the location of the embankment but now it is being organised into natural rehabilitations. The head of the village called Abu Nawar has been credited with preserving the mangrove forests in the area.

Abandon embankment at Pannikiang Island


Mr. Abu Nawar also admitted welcomed the Government's plans for development of ecotourism. Currently has started eco-friendly construction of the bridge in one point of the island. Pannikiang Island residents expect an increase in welfare of society by the existence of ecotourism. During this time they only depend on the results of the abundant fish in west wind seasons. At that time many new comers who seek livelihoods on the island. While in the east wind season, the population is just trying to survive. The existence of ecotourism, the livelihoods of the population presumably grew. In addition to mangroves, coral reefs even dugong (mermaid fish) also became a tourist potential of the area. Hopefully with this ecotourism development, community more aware of the importance of the sustainability of mangrove and tourists are more responsible.

eco-friendly bridge at Pannikiang Island