Indonesia's globally significant seagrass meadows are under widespread threat

Last modified: 
December 13, 2019 - 1:55pm
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: 2018
Date published: 09/2018
Authors: Richard Unsworth, Rohani Ambo-Rappe, Benjamin Jones, Yayu La Nafie, A. Irawan, Udhi Hernawan, Abigail Moore, Leanne Cullen-Unsworth
Journal title: Science of The Total Environment
Volume: 634
Pages: 279 - 286
ISSN: 00489697

Indonesia's marine ecosystems form a fundamental part of the world's natural heritage, representing a global maxima of marine biodiversity and supporting the world's second largest production of seafood. Seagrasses are a key part of that support. In the absence of empirical data we present evidence from expert opinions as to the state of Indonesia's seagrass ecosystems, their support for ecosystem services, with a focus on fisheries, and the damaging activities that threaten their existence. We further draw on expert opinion to elicit potential solutions to prevent further loss. Seagrasses and the ecosystem services they support across the Indonesian archipelago are in a critical state of decline. Declining seagrass health is the result of shifting environmental conditions due largely to coastal development, land reclamation, and deforestation, as well as seaweed farming, overfishing and garbage dumping. In particular, we also describe the declining state of the fisheries resources that seagrass meadows support. The perilous state of Indonesia's seagrasses will compromise their resilience to climate change and result in a loss of their high ecosystem service value. Community supported management initiatives provide one mechanism for seagrass protection. Exemplars highlight the need for increased local level autonomy for the management of marine resources, opening up opportunities for incentive type conservation schemes.

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