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1 . Indonesia View Statistics View Map Online GIS     Indonesia
Indonesia is the largest archipelagic nation in the world, with a coastline stretching over 95,000 km around more than 17,000 islands.46 An extensive group of coral reefs protect these islands. RRSEA estimates that Indonesia has approximately 51,000 km² of coral reefs; this number does not include reefs in remote areas that have not been mapped or subsurface reefs. If this conservative estimate is accurate, 51 percent of the region's coral reefs and 18 percent of the world’s coral reefs are found in Indonesian waters.47 Most of these reefs are fringing reefs, adjacent to the coastline and easily accessible to coastal communities. Twenty-five percent of the nation’s GDP comprises the coastal and marine industries, oil and gas production, transportation, fisheries, and tourism, which percent of Indonesia's workforce.48 Although coastal communities have long extracted marine resources sustainably, population growth has put additional pressure on Indonesia's coral reefs.

Aside from their sheer magnitude, Indonesia's coral reefs are also among the most biologically rich in the world, containing an extraordinary array of plant and animal diversity. Today, more than 480 species of hard coral have been recorded in eastern Indonesia, approximately 60 percent of the world's described hard coral species.49 The greatest diversity of coral reef fish in the world are found in Indonesia, with more than 1,650 species in eastern Indonesia alone. In fact, Indonesia’s coral reefs help to support one of the largest marine fisheries in the world, generating 3.6 million tons of total marine fish production in 1997.50 Because many reefs in eastern Indonesia have yet to be surveyed, the actual extent of Indonesia’s biological endowment is still unknown.51

However, Indonesia's rich supplies of corals and reef fish are endangered by destructive fishing practices. Cyanide and blast fishing are widespread throughout the archipelago even in protected areas. Around 65 percent of surveys in the Maluku islands had evidence of bomb damage.52 Despite the short-term profits, studies have shown that the economic costs of blast and poison fishing are prodigious.53 RRSEA estimates that the net economic loss in Indonesia from blast fishing over the next 20 years will be at least US$570 million. The economic loss from cyanide fishing is estimated to be US$46 million annually.54

Indonesian reefs are also subject to various pressures from inland activities. The average annual deforestation rate in Indonesia between 1985 and 1997 was 1.7 million hectares.55 Deforestation and other land-use changes have increased sediment discharge onto reefs, and pollution from industrial effluents, sewage, and fertilizer compounds the problem. Reefs affected by land-based pollution have shown 30-50 percent less diversity at depths of 3 m, and 40-60 percent less diversity at 10 m, in comparison to pristine reefs.56

The 1997-98 El Niño event triggered widespread bleaching in Indonesia, with western and west-central Indonesia most affected. Bleaching was recorded in East Sumatra, Java, Bali, and Lombok. In the Seribu Islands northwest of Jakarta, 90 to 95 percent of the coral reef from the reef flat down to 25 m died. Two years later, the Seribu Islands had significant recovery, with live coral cover of 20--30 percent in 2000.57

Cumulatively, these pressures appear to have significantly degraded Indonesia's reefs over time. Unfortunately, Indonesia has only limited monitoring. Few reefs are regularly studied, making the assessment of condition and change for the country quite difficult. Currently, most monitoring indicates clearly that reef condition is declining. In the past fifty years, the proportion of degraded reefs in Indonesia increased from 10 to 50 percent.58 Between 1989 and 2000, reefs with over 50 percent live coral cover declined from 36 to 29 percent.59 Western Indonesia, which is more developed and holds the majority of Indonesia's population, faces the greatest threats to its coral reefs. Surveys conducted between 1990 and 1998 show that reef condition improves from west to east. The percentage of reefs in good or excellent condition (live coral cover of more than 50 percent) is 23 percent in western Indonesia compared to 45 percent in eastern Indonesia.60

RRSEA modeling suggests that human activities threaten over 85 percent of Indonesia's coral reefs, with nearly one half at high threat. The principal threats to Indonesian reefs are overfishing and destructive fishing, which threaten 64 and 53 percent of Indonesia's reefs, respectively. However, the areas at risk from destructive fishing are probably underestimated because information is not available for many areas. Both coastal development and sedimentation from inland sources threaten about one fifth of the country's reefs.

Few specific management measures exist to protect coral reefs in Indonesia. Until 1999, no identifiable institution had oversight for the management of coastal resources.61 Owing to a lack of coordination and political upheavals, Indonesia is not achieving government management targets set in 1984. Originally, Indonesia had planned to have 85 marine protected areas covering 10 million ha by 1990 and 50 million by 2000.62 However, in 2000, Indonesia had just 51 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) that include coral reefs, covering an area of 6.2 million ha.63

Governance responsibility for Indonesian coastal resources was given to the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries in 1999. The government has also sponsored the Coral Reef Rehabilitation and Management Program (COREMAP), a 15-year initiative aimed at strengthening the management of the country's coastal resources while considering the needs of coastal communities. However, to date, COREMAP has had only limited success. On a local scale, several NGOs have had success instituting collaborative and community management frameworks.64 This bottom-up approach may become increasingly important as the Indonesian government continues to undergo decentralization.
Source: Burke, L., E. Selig and M. Spalding , 2002 , Reefs At Risk in Southeast Asia. . World Resources Institute, 72p. (See Document)

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