The Jakarta Post
More than just helping to protect the coast from erosion, mangroves have many other benefits and economic values. (Shutterstock/Ratihrimay)
Indonesia has the biggest mangrove ecosystem in Southeast Asia, and it has drawn travelers, non-governmental organizations and researchers to come and observe.
It is relatively easy for travelers to enjoy the beauty of these mangrove ecosystems in the coastal areas, considering that Jakarta and other island towns have mangrove forests with various characteristics.
Apart from preventing erosion, mangrove forests in Indonesia often serve as destinations for educational programs on nature or eco-tourism.
Kompas.com reported that while mangroves can become an ingredient for making soap, creative souvenirs, snacks and even cakes, there haven’t been many mangrove caretaker groups that make those products and generate economic value.
“As the country with the biggest mangrove habitat in Southeast Asia, Indonesia should be able to produce internationally acclaimed mangrove products,” said Vola, adviser of the Mantehage Mangrove group from Bunaken National Park in North Sulawesi at the commemoration of National Nature Conservation Day (HKAN) in Bitung, North Sulawesi, on Aug. 29.
Vola thinks that research may find that all parts of mangroves are useful, from its fruit and bark to its leaves and roots.
“Here in Bunaken we have been able to make mangrove liquid bath soap, cookies, nuts and even flour,” Vola was quoted as saying by KompasTravel.
Vola went on to say that the type of mangrove used to make liquid soap is soneratia alba, which has fewer seeds. The production process includes grating, boiling and extraction of its essence for the soap.
Meanwhile, gruguera gymnorisa has equally thick meat as the former, with a more palatable taste. This type of mangrove could, therefore, be ready to eat or used to make snacks and cookies.
As for cakes and flour, Vola recommends soneratia alba mangrove as ingredient.
This type of mangrove tends to be drier, and it can be processed to make flour for baking cakes. After the cake is baked, we can add mangrove fruits and nuts on top of it as garnishes,” said Vola. (mut)