4 May 2007
This is a summary of experience of a mangrove farmer organization, Pangkang Lestari and its efforts to promote mangrove rehabilitation & community empowerment in Dusun Teluk Lombok, Kutai National Park, East Kalimantan . Several benefits for the community are also mentioned here.
Teluk Lombok is one of the poorest sub-villages in Kutai Timur district, locating in the coast of the national park. Most of the community came from South Sulawesi , from 1920s, and became fisherman. They had depended on mangrove forest and marine resources (fish, crabs, etc). However, in 1970s things started changes, due to the cutting-down of mangrove trees. Slowly, the destruction affected the community. Because of abrasion, they had to move houses to inland. Marine resources were degraded. It devastated the community livelihood.
In 1990s, activities to raise concerns of Kutai National Park started. A local leader, Ado Tadulako was enthusiastic to attend meetings and got aware of reasons of mangrove depletion and the impacts. Tadulako encouraged community members to do mangrove rehabilitation. They formed an organization, Pangkang Lestari in April 2004, with the help of a local NGO, Bikal. It started to do rehabilitation of 10 hectares in Teluk Lombok. The seedlings grow well and reach over 1 metre in height.
Starting from the mangrove rehabilitation only, Pangkang Lestari becomes an effective locomotive in empowering the community. Some contributions have been made. The farmers have started having better livelihood when the association become a seedlings supplier for rehabilitation projects in some districts. Gender empowerment occurred, when women showed initiatives to do micro business. Then, they were included in the organization. Now, the women have a modest business group. Finally, Pangkang Lestari and the women business group have started sharing lessons and experiences.