The Aquaculture Program of WWF-Indonesia has involved Muhammadiyah Student Union (Ikatan Pelajar Muhammadiyah; IPM) Maros to implement the restoration plan in Maros Regency’s coastal area, South Sulawesi in November 2020. The activity started with brainstorming session with youth communities of Maros regarding environmental issues in November 13th, 2020 during afternoon in Rammang-Rammang area, Maros. In this session, we discussed about the importance of IPM’s role in coastal area restoration plan for Maros. The discussion happened in Kantor Pusat Dakwah Muhammadiyah (Da’wah Center Office of Muhammadiyah; abbv. Pusdam) and continued with the main activity of planting 10.000 mangroves in Binanga Sangkara.
Wawan Mattaliu, the moderator, stated that Maros’ environment is a crossing area of historical biodiversity that started since the expedition of Alfred Russel Wallace in Bantimurung Maros and his identification of various species of butterflies and apes. Moreover, Wawan thought that Maros’ natural environment has contributed greatly for science, especially in terms of data to support Darwin’s evolution theory. This topic then became a great starter of the activity that was attended by 15 youth communities in Maros, suh as IPM Maros, Student Union of University of Muhammadiyah (IMM) Anak-Anak Peduli, Gondrong Butta Salewangang, Sapma Maros, Indonesian Community (OI), Rammang-Rammang Youth, etc.
These youth communities shared their thoughts and anxieties about the environmental problems around them and the issues that they handled, such as waste and plastic problems, pollution of the Maros river, logging of Ampekale mangroves, the issue of sand mining in Mallawa, and the issue of cement mining that threatened the preservation of the karst mountains in Maros. The follow-up of the meeting was the formation of a forum with the Maros youth community which planned to hold regular discussions on the discourse of environmental improvement and capacity building of Maros youth, as well as a joint action agenda for environmental improvement, including agendas for mangrove planting.
On November 15th 2020 at 8.00 AM, around 60 volunteers gathered at Pusdam Maros for briefing. The volunteers were taught about mangrove planting method. Volunteers received an overview of the planting location with a mud substrate with a depth of one meter, as well as the threat of oysters that might injure the volunteers’ legs. For this matter, volunteers were asked to wear socks. The volunteers were also informed that the planting distance between propagules should be around 20-30 centimeters. The strong current conditions on the Binanga Sangkara coast, required close planting so that the propagules could withstand the impact of strong currents.
Participants had to plant the mangroves by transporting the saplings hand to hand because the muddy land made us difficult to move. Then, the sapling got planted by the planting team at the end point of planting. Participants departed to the location at 9.00 AM and the planting activities took place for 7 hours from 10.00 AM to 5.00 PM. It was easier to plant the saplings after the tide came in the afternoon since the tide allowed us to move more freely to the location of the planting point. This made us learn the best time to plant mangroves is when the tide comes.
The planting of 10,000 mangroves in Binanga Sangkara was a continuation of the mangrove rehabilitation program by WWF-ID Aquaculture Improvement Program (AIP) to encourage the fulfillment of the target area for planting mangroves for Aquaculture Stewardship Certification (ASC) of PT. Bogatama Marinusa (BOMAR). Prior to this planting, the team had successfully added 28 hectares or half of the total pond area registered for certification, which is 56 hectares. As of October 2020, WWF-Indonesia, along with volunteers from various communities, have planted 179,685 mangrove saplings, which 158,968 of the seeds survived and covered around 22 hectares of land. Meanwhile, in Binanga Sangkara alone, there are 24,000 saplings that covers around 2.1 hectares of land. The mangroves that were planted on November 15th 2020 will continue to be monitored by involving the active role of the Muhammadiyah Student Association (IPM) as an active partner of WWF-Indonesia in strengthening the conservation agenda in Maros Regency.