Brunei mangroves remain pristine
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
THE mangroves in Brunei have remained relatively pristine despite alarming depletion rates in the region, said a forestry expert recently.
Sigit Sasmito of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) said the sultanate’s mangroves, which are dominated by the rhizophora apiculata species locally known as bakau, were in good condition compared to areas in other ASEAN nations.
“I think this is good news, because in some countries like Indonesia, we have very high degradation of mangroves due to unsustainable shrimp farming,” he said.
Over 35 per cent of the world’s mangroves have been destroyed with ASEAN suffering among the highest rate of mangrove loss globally. However, Sigit observed the majority of mangroves in Brunei have not been noticeably affected.
He said the pristine condition of the mangroves in the country were mainly a result of government protection.
Although human activities such as fishing and logging have occurred in the mangrove areas, he pointed out such small-scale actions do not have a significant impact.
He added the ecosystem services provided by mangroves were beneficial for local communities.
“Consumption by local communities is acceptable, because the impact on mangrove degradation is not so deep,” said the CIFOR researcher.
He said mangroves are crucial for carbon sequestration globally particularly in climate change mitigation and adaptation. On a local scale, mangroves are important for shoreline protection from adverse weather.
Mangroves are also home to a variety of fish species serving as a spawning ground for coastal fish or a habitat for their larvae.
“Without mangroves, there is no vegetation that could adapt to the salinity and you will not have protection for the shoreline. The impact from erosion can extend to the upland and you will lose fish species,” said Sigit.
The main threats to mangroves include deforestation; overharvesting; river changes; overfishing; destruction of coral reefs; pollution and climate change.
The Brunei Times