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Problem Analysis and Solution Finding
Mustofa Agung Sardjono
Faculty of Forestry, Mulawarman University

Traditional brackish water ponds have been developed rapidly in the last decade in Tarakan, and have endangered the existing mangrove forest, especially in the productive areas of the concession holder, PT Karyasa Kencana. When in 1985 there was only 125 ha of mangrove area converted into brackish water ponds, in 1993 it already became 7.157 ha (around 8% of the total concession area). The objectives of the research are to analysis some factors influencing the development of the brackish water ponds in the area of PT Karyasa Kencana -Tarakan, to identify the actors (relevant institutions/groups) and finally to formulate alternative solutions based on the problems and role of the actors. To achieve these objectives, the combination of field observation, interview and documentation study were implemented. Furthermore, the collected data/information was analyzed using a tree diagram technique of the Goal Oriented Project Planning method. According to the research findings, the core problem is degradation of the mangrove ecosystem, which is mainly caused by some factors such as: increased investors in the establishment of brackish water ponds, lack of knowledge about mangrove functions, and ineffective control by the responsible parties. Identification of relevant actors showed that the most important institutions/groups were brackish water pond owners, Forestry Sub-Service, District Fishery Service, Forest Concession Holder (PT. Karyasa Kencana) and Local Government. To mitigate the worst condition, some alternative solutions were proposed, such as to compromise the goal conflicts as well as to create accommodative forum for equalizing the different perception among identified relevant actors.


Mangrove forests are abundantly found in the coastal region of the province of East Kalimantan. Up to now, it has not been found out how large this unique ecosystem influenced by edaphic factors is. However, until 70’s mangrove forests in this second biggest province in Indonesia had only physicalbiological functions, such as: as marine pollutant, absorption area, seeding area of fish and shrimps, habitat of the scarce coastal birds species and endemic primates. This ecosystem plays also an important role as a beach barrier from sea wave abrasion (see also Hardjosentono, 1978; Soedjarwo, 1978). Eventhough, according to Wirakusumah and Sutisna (1980), mangrove forests in East- Kalimantan have been exploited by local people, it was only limited for subsistence purposes, such as housing timber material and fire wood. Such utilization still exists nowadays in Tarakan (Rahayu, 1996). In accordance with the development of pulp and paper industries, mangrove forests are becoming economically attractive and have been intensively exploited under a concession system. One big mangrove timber company located in Tarakan is PT. Karyasa Kencana. This company has the total area of 90,250 ha, of which 61,250 ha (or around 60%) are mangroves within production forest areas. However, in this last decade PT Karyasa Kencana has to encounter problem of rapid, extensive development of the brackish water ponds. When in the beginning of concession period (in 1982) the brackish water ponds occupied only approximately 125 ha, in 1993 they already expanded to 7,157 ha., or 50 times larger. Although, the forest concessionaire has complain to all relevant institutions, especially the Forestry Branch-Office of Middle-Bulungan, but no solution for the problem could be taken. In its development, it even became worse, since heavy equipment, i.e. escavator, was initially operated. If this situation is not anticipated, it can be predicted that less than one decade in the future, the Tarakan’s mangrove ecosystem with all its socio-economic as well as ecological functions will disappear. The objectives of the research are to analyze some factors influencing the rapid development of the traditional brackish water ponds, to identify relevant actors and finally to formulate alternative solutions. It is expected that the outputs could be used for designing new, better strategies and approaches, in order to mitigate the existing problem concerning mangrove forests, especially in the Tarakan area.

Based on the research results and the discussions, some conclusions can be drawn up as follows:
(1). Rapid development of the traditional brackish water ponds in the area of the forest concessionaire PT. Karyasa Kencana in Tarakan, has just started in the last decade. According to the area status based on Forest Land-Use, the brackish water pond activities are not in line with the existing forest management policy.
(2). There are some factors influencing the rapid development of the traditional brackish water ponds. The most relevant are the increase of investors, less knowledge on mangrove functions and insufficient control efforts of the related agencies. The rapid pond development and other causes such as illegal cutting and settlement expansion have aggravated the degradation of mangrove ecosystem in Tarakan.
(3). The increase degradation of mangrove is identified as the core problem. Finally, this condition may lead to further consequences, both ecological problems (e.g. increase of abrasion, destruction of fauna and marine biology habitat, shrinking of specific mangrove vegetation) and socio-economics disadvantages (e.g. unattractive mangrove exploitation and chip-industry, increasing number of unemployment and after all, the closing down of industry)
(4). The first step to find the alternative solutions is to convert all negative into positive situation, which is called goal analysis, and identify all relevant actors (incl. institutions, groups) who give contribution to the existing problems as well as to the solution finding. The most important parties identified are the owners or investors of the brackish ponds, the concession holder (PT. Karyasa Kencana), the Forestry Branch-Office of Middle Bulungan, the Fishery Service of Bulungan and last but not least the District Government of Bulungan.

According to the analysis result, all alternative solutions should be based on two main approaches:
(1). It is necessary to compromise all interests of the relevant actors through some proposed alternatives e.g. to issue a standardized mangrove management map, to conduct periodical meeting, to activate Sub-District and village apparatus, to involve NGOs and after all to implement law enforcement.

(2). To establish the same perception of the term “traditional”, through inventory of the existing brackish water ponds and identification of the ownership status, to determination of the cross-sectoral guidance programs, selection of large-scale ponds according to the sustainable mangrove management and economic development of the region, and issuance of “ utilization rights” to the existing ponds in the forest area with important tasks to be fulfilled, while reducing the expansion of new water brackish pond in the production forest area.
(3). Beside the above recommended alternative solutions, some pre-conditions should be put into realization, they are establishment of a communication forum and determination of management and monitoring strategies.

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