An archipelago of 17,000 islands, Indonesia is highly vulnerable to climate change. A study done by the academic journal Science in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami of Aceh, which killed 220,000 people, cited models showing that 30 coastal trees per 100 square meters can reduce the flow of a tsunami by up to 90%. This project is located in the province of North Sumatra in Indonesia, which has steadily lost its mangrove forests over the past decades. In 1987, it had 200,000 hectares of mangroves. Today, less than half of that amount remains, with only 83,000 hectares standing. The mangrove forests were destroyed as a result of the island’s rapid industrialization- they were converted into rice fields, ponds for shrimp production, and plantations for palm oil.
This project will restore the mangrove forests, and as a result, ensure the safety of the local population. Replanting coastal mangroves can significantly buffer coastal communities from future tsunamis akin to that of the 2004 tsunami. It will also restore vital agricultural land. The intensive shrimp farms that replaced the mangrove forests resulted in a massive influx of saline water that is preventing the growth of crops today. Additionally, this project will generate new sources of economic income. Local villagers will be able to increase their revenues by selling the by-products of the mangroves such as fish, molluscs, batik dye and honey.
The social and environmental impact
The association Yagasu Aceh is present in the area since 2003. Livelihoods with the association has a target of 5,000 hectares replanted by the end of 2014. The communities, with the help of NGO Yagasu, have already replanted 2,000 hectares from 2011 to 2012. The storage capacity is 2.1 million TeqCO2 for 20 years.
Validation level of the project
This project is currently at the stage of the establishment of reference documents for a VCS (Voluntary Carbon Standards) validation, which is scheduled for the end of 2014. This project received the approval of the Indonesian authorities in March 2012.