Property developers own 80% of Surabaya mangroves

Wahyoe Boediwardhana, The Jakarta Post, Surabaya | Tue, 05/24/2011 5:08 PM

Eighty percent of the 2,000 hectares of mangrove forest on Surabaya’s eastern coast now belongs to property developers, while 40 percent is damaged, an NGO reported Tuesday.

Surabaya Mangrove House Consortium director Wawan Some said mangrove now covered the area only about four or five meters from the coastline, from the former 200 to 350 meters.

He said deforestation also threatened the 400-hectare conservation area in Kalisari Damen, Mulyorejo district, with at least 10 hectares of the forest razed and the logs sold. The deforested land is now used for fish rearing ponds.

Wawan said property developers often obtained mangrove forest by buying what had already been converted into fish ponds by local residents.

“When questioned, they’ll easily say that they’ve legally bought the land from the fish pond owners and put the blame on those owners,” Wawan said.