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Contested aquaculture development in the protected mangrove forests of the Kapuas estuary, West Kalimantan

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Indonesia comprises more mangroves than any other country, but also exhibits some of the highest mangrove loss rates worldwide. Most of these mangrove losses are caused by aquaculture development. Monetary valuation of the numerous ecosystem services of mangroves may contribute to their conservation. However, our analysis of mangrove to aquaculture conversions in West Kalimantan demonstrates that socio-political structures and networks and related patterns of political and economic domination and marginalisation are more fundamental determinants of mangrove loss or conservation and hence deserve more scholarly and political attention. The conversion of 1,800 ha of legally protected mangrove forest in the Kapuas estuary into brackish aquaculture was pushed by non-local aquaculture operators, village representatives, state officials, and fisheries authorities. Bonded by entrepreneurial interests, corruption, power, and political goals, this ‘aquaculture alliance’ has struggled against the forest authorities’ mangrove conservation goals. The majority of the politically marginalised local residents, many of whom depend on the mangroves, do not benefit from the development but are deprived of some of their resources. Networks of power and hierarchies avert rebellion. The environmental transformations both are determined by and reveal an entrenched social order marked by problematic power relations and inequity.
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GEOÖKO VOLUME/BAND XXXV, 78 – 121 GÖTTINGEN 2014
CONTESTED AQUACULTURE DEVELOPMENT
IN THE PROTECTED MANGROVE FORESTS OF THE KAPUAS ESTUARY,
WEST KALIMANTAN
KONFLIKTGELADENE AQUAKULTURENTWICKLUNG
IN DEN MANGROVENWÄLDERN DES KAPUAS-ÄSTUARS,
WEST KALIMANTAN
SVENJA KARSTENS & MARTIN C. LUKAS
SUMMARY
Indonesia comprises more mangroves than any other country, but also exhibits some of the
highest mangrove loss rates worldwide. Most of these mangrove losses are caused by aqua-
culture development. Monetary valuation of the numerous ecosystem services of mangroves
may contribute to their conservation. However, our analysis of mangrove to aquaculture
conversions in West Kalimantan demonstrates that socio-political structures and networks
and related patterns of political and economic domination and marginalisation are mo-
re fundamental determinants of mangrove loss or conservation and hence deserve more
scholarly and political attention. e conversion of 1,800 ha of legally protected mangrove
forest in the Kapuas estuary into brackish aquaculture was pushed by non-local aquacul-
ture operators, village representatives, state ocials, and sheries authorities. Bonded by
entrepreneurial interests, corruption, power, and political goals, this ‘aquaculture alliance’
has struggled against the forest authorities’ mangrove conservation goals. e majority of
the politically marginalised local residents, many of whom depend on the mangroves, do
not benet from the development but are deprived of some of their resources. Networks
of power and hierarchies avert rebellion. e environmental transformations both are de-
termined by and reveal an entrenched social order marked by problematic power relations
and inequity.
Keywords: mangrove forests, deforestation, mangrove conservation,
aquaculture, capture sheries, conicts over natural resources, environmental
governance, political ecology, land use and land cover change, remote
sensing, Indonesia
79
CONTESTED AQUACULTURE DEVELOPMENT, WEST KALIMANTAN
ZUSAMMENFASSUNG
Indonesien ist das mangrovenreichste Land der Erde, weist jedoch gleichzeitig eine der höchs-
ten Abholzungsraten weltweit auf. Die wichtigste Ursache dafür ist die Aquakulturentwick-
lung. Eine Quantizierung der vielfältigen Ökosystemdienstleistungen von Mangroven kann
zu deren besseren Schutz beitragen. Unsere Analyse der Aquakulturentwicklung in West
Kalimantan zeigt jedoch, dass sozial-politische Strukturen und Netzwerke sowie damit ver-
bundene Konstellationen politischer und ökonomischer Vorherrschaft und Marginalisierung
grundlegendere Determinanten für den Schutz oder die Zerstörung von Mangroven darstel-
len und daher größerer wissenschaftlicher und politischer Aufmerksamkeit bedürfen. Die
Umwandlung von 1.800 ha geschützter Mangrovenwälder im Kapuas-Ästuar in Brackwasser-
aquakulturen wurde von auswärtigen Investoren, einigen Dorf- und Staatsrepräsentanten und
den Fischereibehörden vorangetrieben. Diese durch ökonomische Interessen, Korruption
und politische Macht verbundenen Akteure kämpfen gegen die für den Schutz der Mangro-
venwälder zuständigen Forstbehörden für eine Legalisierung der Aquakulturen. Die politisch
marginalisierte Lokalbevölkerung, die vielfach von den Ressourcen und Ökosystemdienst-
leistungen der Mangroven abhängt, protiert nicht von der Aquakulturentwicklung und
wird stattdessen eines Teils ihrer Ressourcen beraubt. Entsprechende Widerstände werden
durch machtdurchdrungene Netzwerke und Hierarchien unterdrückt. Die Umwelttrans-
formationen im Kapuas-Ästuar sind das Ergebnis von und Teil einer durch problematische
Machtstrukturen und tief verwurzelte Ungerechtigkeit charakterisierten gesellschaftlichen
Ordnung.
Schlüsselworte: Mangroven, Entwaldung, Mangrovenwaldschutz,
Aquakultur, Fischerei, Konikte um Naturressourcen, Umwelt-Governance,
Politische Ökologie, Landnutzungswandel, Fernerkundung, Indonesien
1 INTRODUCTION
With an extent of almost 3.2 million hectares, Indonesia comprises about one fth of the
world’s mangrove area (Spalding et al. 2010). e country not only ranks rst in terms of
mangrove coverage but also exhibits the highest level of mangrove biodiversity worldwide
(FAO 2007a; Spalding et al. 2010). At the same time, Indonesia sets records in terms of
mangrove destruction. While on the global scale the total mangrove area declined by 20%
between 1980 and 2005, the mangrove area of Indonesia declined by 31% during the same
period (data from FAO 2007a). And in contrast to declining mangrove deforestation rates on
the global scale, mangrove destruction in Indonesia has accelerated during the past decade.
While globally, the average annual mangrove loss rates declined from 1.04% in the 1980s
to 0.66% between 2000 and 2005, the average annual rates of mangrove loss in Indonesia,
80 karstens & lukas
after declining from 1.8% (1980s) to 1.0% (1990s), considerably increased to 1.6% between
2000 and 2005 (data from FAO 2007a). is is by far the highest mangrove loss rate of any
country in Asia. ese gures only document mangrove loss and do not include mangrove
degradation. Of the total mangrove area still remaining in Indonesia, more than half is de-
graded (FAO 2007b).
e causes of mangrove conversions in Indonesia as well as worldwide are certainly not well
summarised with “[h]igh population pressure in coastal areas”, as the Food and Agriculture
Organization of the United Nations states in the executive summary of its assessment of the
world’s mangroves (FAO 2007a: ix). Given that mangrove conversions are often driven by
non-local actors, economic and political elites, and broader socio-political structures and
processes, notions about ‘high population pressure’ appear to be not only supercial but mis-
leading. A country report in a related working paper provides a somewhat more dierentiated
and more realistic picture of the major direct drivers of mangrove deforestation in Indonesia,
citing “unsustainable aquaculture development” as the main cause for mangrove losses and
“overexploitation […] through intensive logging” as a secondary cause (FAO 2007b: 40).
Development of aquaculture, particularly of shrimp aquaculture, has been one of the main
drivers of mangrove conversion in Indonesia and worldwide (Adger & Luttrell 2000; Spalding
et al. 2010). Hamilton (2013), who analysed changes in mangrove cover in 56 major estua-
ries of Indonesia, Brazil, Bangladesh, India, ailand, Vietnam, Ecuador, and China, found
that 52% of the total historic mangrove coverage of these estuaries was lost, and that 54%
of these mangrove losses were caused by aquaculture development. Across the nine analysed
estuarine mangrove areas in Indonesia, the situation was even more extreme, with 61% of the
historic mangrove cover being lost between the early 1970s and 2005-10, and aquaculture
development accounted for 79% of this loss (ibid.).
e total brackish aquaculture area in Indonesia, almost three fourths of which is used for
shrimp farming, increased from about 458,000 to 749,000 ha between 2002 and 2011 (BPS
2012). In light of the political support and development goals of the Indonesian Ministry
of Marine Aairs and Fisheries, which proposes no less than 2.96 million ha as the potential
area for brackish aquaculture (KKP 2013), the aquaculture boom, and hence mangrove con-
versions, are set to continue unabated in Indonesia.
Aquaculture development not only provides economic benets, but can be accompanied
by substantial environmental and social costs, including, among others, the loss of wetland
habitats and nursery areas; the depletion of wild sh and reduced catch yields due to the loss
of nursery and feeding grounds and the collection of wild broodstock and feed sh for sh-
meal; eutrophication; euents containing antibiotics and chemicals; introduction of exotic
species; spread of diseases; hydrological changes and salt water intrusion; and the loss of or
81
CONTESTED AQUACULTURE DEVELOPMENT, WEST KALIMANTAN
deprivation of access to resources previously used by local residents (Bailey 1988; Bosma &
Verdegem 2011; Dewalt et al. 1996; Naylor et al. 2000; Páez-Osuna 2001; Primavera 2006;
ornton et al. 2003). Furthermore, brackish aquaculture ponds excavated in mangrove soils
often fail due to the development of acid sulfate soils (Bosma et al. 2012; Choong et al. 1990;
Northcote & Hartman 2004), contributing to a “boom-and-bust pattern” (Rönnbäck 1999:
237), especially in shrimp aquaculture, with high income generation in the rst years and a
rapid decline thereafter. In semi-intensive and intensive ponds, shrimps are usually cultured
no longer than ve to ten years, before the farmer abandons the pond and moves on to con-
struct a new one (Rönnbäck 1999; also see Bailey 1988).
With the conversion of mangroves into aquaculture ponds, the numerous ecosystem services
provided by mangroves (summarised in Table 1) are lost.
Many mangrove ecosystem services are dicult to quantify and convert into monetary va-
lues. e resulting undervaluation of mangroves has been seen as a major driving force for
their conversion (see, for example, Rönnbäck 1999). However, we argue that even complete
quantication and monetisation of all mangrove ecosystem services seems unlikely to con-
siderably slow down mangrove destruction, since the existence of a societal consensus with
all actors collaborating to maximise total economic or, more broadly, societal gains from
the natural resources and potentials of a region cannot be assumed. In reality, various socio-
political structures and processes, the roles, economic interests and political alliances of a
few inuential actors and related patterns of political inclusion and exclusion may largely
determine the pace and patterns of mangrove conversion. Already a quarter of a century
ago, Bailey (1988) critiqued the widespread expropriation of community resources by aqua-
culture investors and the roles of networks and bribery. Similarly, Armitage (2002) found
that aquaculture development in Banawa, Central Sulawesi, was “organized and controlled
by relatively few well-connected district and regional ocials and entrepreneurs” (p. 211).
He noted that instead of restricting access to mangrove forest ecosystems, government sta
granted permits for aquaculture development based on self-interest. However, the roles of
political structures and processes and of particular actors, and, as noted by Adger & Luttrell
(2000), the roles of property rights, questions of access to resources and the distribution of
the impacts of mangrove conversion tend to be under-emphasised in literature on mangrove
management and degradation.
Based on our research in West Kalimantan we suggest that understanding the causes and im-
plications of mangrove conversion and aquaculture development requires a combined analysis
of the spatial and temporal physical dynamics, the roles of and alliances between the main
actors involved, related political and administrative processes, the (potential) eects of the
transformations, and the parties aected. All these aspects or dimensions of the transforma-
tion have to be seen as embedded in the context of overall societal structures. Such a Political
82 karstens & lukas
Ecology analysis not only reveals the underlying causes and dynamics of mangrove conversion
and aquaculture development, but can also provide insight into the socio-political fabric of a
region and into overall modes of governance, as we will show in the following
Tab.1: Ecosystem functions and services of mangroves (modied and compiled after Adger &
Lutrell 2000; Alongi 2008; Armitage 2002; Blasco et al. 1996; Choong et al. 1990; Dutrieux 1991;
Jennerjahn & Ittekkot 2002; Kaplowitz & Hoehn 2001; Long & Skewes 1996; MacKinnon 1996;
Northcote & Hartman 2004; Ruitenbeek 1992; Rönnbäck 1999)
GEOÖKO VOLUME/BAND XXXV, YYYY GÖTTINGEN 2014
Tab.1
Ecosystem fun tions and services of mangroves
Biological Physical Chemical Social and economical
habitat for fish,
crustaceans (crabs,
shrimps), bivalves
(cockles, mussels,
oysters), and
gastropods (snails,
slugs)
trapping sediments;
promoting
sedimentation
water quality
maintenance; water
purification;
groundwater recharge
fish, crustaceans,
molluscs and other
fauna (including off-
shore fisheries)
feeding ground shoreline protection;
buffer against wind
and waves; reduce
coastal erosion
chemical buffer;
pollutants filter
timber for
construction; fuel
wood; charcoal; wood
chips
breeding, spawning
and nursery area
protection of
freshwater areas from
intrusion of seawater
export of organic
matter and nutrients
source of industrial
raw materials: pulp,
paper, textiles,
medicine, alcohol,
sugar, honey,
sweetmeats from
propagules, glue, wax,
and cosmetics
refuge habitat and
shelter from predators
for marine species
storage and recycling
of organic matter,
nutrients and
pollutants
tannin for dying of
fishing nets
protection area for
young terrestrial fauna
such as birds and bats
influence on local and
global climate,
globally relevant
contribution to
(marine) carbon
sequestration
scientific and
educational
information
reservoirs of biomass
and genetic materials
provide oxygen and
absorb carbon dioxide
tourism and recreation
c
83
CONTESTED AQUACULTURE DEVELOPMENT, WEST KALIMANTAN
2 RESEARCH APPROACH, METHODS AND STUDY AREA
Political Ecology, which “combines the concerns of ecology and a broadly dened political
economy” (Blaikie & Brookeld 1987: 17), seeks to understand the sources, circumstances
and ramications of environmental change (Bryant 1992). It links environmental dynamics
and varied societal interpretations thereof with questions of access to and control over re-
sources, the roles and interests of the actors, socio-political structures, and power relations,
and (often unequal) distributions of the benets and negative eects of environmental trans-
formations (see, for example, Blaikie 1985; Bryant & Bailey 1997; Peluso 1992; Paulson &
Gezon 2004; Zimmerer & Bassett 2003).
Taking a similar methodological approach as described in Lukas (2014), we used a Political
Ecology perspective and combined an analysis of satellite images and historical maps with
social-scientic research methods to investigate the spatial and temporal dynamics of (illegal)
aquaculture development in the protected mangrove forests of the Kapuas estuary in West
Kalimantan, and explored the drivers of these transformations, related political struggles,
their environmental and social eects, and resulting conicts and injustices. In doing so, we
paid particular attention to the roles and interests of the various actors and their narratives
about the transformations. We started our inquiry with an analysis of bio-physical changes
using satellite images and historical maps. Using a political ecology perspective with social-
scientic inquiry we then linked the observed environmental transformations with socio-
political structures and processes (as in Lukas 2014).
Based on a series of Landsat images taken between 1973 and 2014, we identied land cover
changes throughout the Kapuas estuary region. e satellite images were acquired from
the U.S. Geological Survey and the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development
Agency (GISTDA) in Bangkok, ailand. ey were georeferenced based on recent topogra-
phic maps. Land cover changes were identied through visual interpretation of false colour
composites generated from the green, red and near infrared bands. GPS-facilitated land use
and land cover mapping and secondary spatial data acquired from governmental authorities
supported the satellite image analysis. To further expand the temporal scale of analysis into
the past, historical maps from 1925 and 1932 were acquired from the collections of the Royal
Tropical Institute at Amsterdam and the National Archives at Jakarta, scanned, georeferenced
and checked for accuracy. Our social-scientic inquiry mainly comprised semi-structured
interviews with representatives of governmental and non-governmental organizations at
sub-district, district and province levels, with aquaculture pond owners, representatives of
shermen unions and with aected local residents. In addition, we collected secondary data
from various governmental and non-governmental organizations.
e research presented here was part of a larger research endeavour exploring and linking
environmental and social-political transformations in the Kapuas estuary region and throug-
84 karstens & lukas
hout the entire Kapuas watershed (Lukas et al. 2012). e Kapuas estuary region (Figure 1)
is located at the equator and was once covered with mangrove forests along the sea and peat
swamp forests further inland. Most of the area belongs to the district of Kubu Raya, which
split from the provincial city of Pontianak in 2007.
Almost the entire estuary region has been and is being rapidly transformed by transmigration
programmes, oil palm plantation development and the expansion of brackish aquaculture.
e latter involves the clearance of protected and / or communally used mangrove forests
along the coast. ese mangrove forests, their associated ecosystems and their ecological
and socio-economic relevance as well as the development of brackish aquaculture replacing
the mangrove forests have barely been documented to date. For the whole of Kalimantan,
Spalding et al. (2010) recorded high mangrove loss rates. ey estimated that “[p]robably
more than 65 per cent of the original mangrove area of Kalimantan has been lost” (p. 108).
Fig.1: The Kapuas estuary region with the Small Kapuas River (‘Kapuas Kecil’), owing through
the province capital Pontianak in the north, the Big Kapuas River (‘Kapuas Besar’) with a number
of distributaries, and the Ambawang River in the south. Data sources: SRTM (remotely sensed
elevation data), U.S. Geological Survey (hydrology), Regional Planning and Development Board
of Kubu Raya (administrative units).
85
CONTESTED AQUACULTURE DEVELOPMENT, WEST KALIMANTAN
And Rahman et al. (2013) documented mangrove conversions in the Mahakam Delta, once
one of the largest mangrove areas in Kalimantan. ey found that 75% of the mangrove
area had been deforested by 2010 for aquaculture development. e mangrove conversions
in the Kapuas estuary have to our knowledge not yet been documented.
3 SPATIAL AND TEMPORAL DYNAMICS OF RAPID AQUACULTURE
EXPANSION IN PROTECTED MANGROVE FORESTS
In the early 1990s, there were only very few small aquaculture ponds situated within the
area of the present district of Kubu Raya. According to a representative of the provincial
Agency of Marine Aairs and Fisheries, these ponds had rst started to be established by
transmigrants from Java, who introduced aquaculture in the Kapuas estuary region, based
on their knowledge and experiences from Java. e operators of the small ponds produced
sh mainly for self-consumption and their neighbours, supplementing their main incomes
derived from agriculture or capture sheries (World Bank 1992). Landsat images of the area
from the 1990s show no signs of any brackish aquaculture ponds in the Kapuas estuary. e
few existing ponds were obviously either too small to be detected in the satellite images or
were situated outside of our research area.
Tab.2: Area of protected mangrove forest converted into aquaculture ponds in the Kapuas estuary
region between 2002 and 2014 (based on our analysis of Landsat images) and future aquaculture
area proposed by the District Authorities of Marine Affairs and Fisheries
e rst larger brackish aquaculture ponds can be detected in Landsat images at the end of
2000. Since then, aquaculture development has rapidly transformed large parts of the island
of Sepuk Laut and the neighbouring area of Selat Remis (Figure 2). By 2011, 943 ha of
protected mangrove forests in Sepuk Laut and 203 ha of protected mangrove forest in Selat
Remis had been converted into aquaculture ponds (see Figure 2 and Table 2). In 2011, an
additional 127 ha of protected mangrove forest was converted into aquaculture ponds south
SHORT TITLE Y
Tab.2
Year Sepuk Laut Selat Remis Kuala Karang Total
2002 46 - - 46
2007 495 111 - 606
2011 943 203 127 1,273
2014 1,445 225 127 1,797
Goal of District Authorities
of Marine Affairs and
Fisheries
1,600 1,500 500 3,600
Tab.3
Location Total area
(ha)
Number of
ponds
Number of
farmers
Main
species
Other
species
Sepuk Laut 976 136 107 Milkfish Giant tiger
shrimp
Selat Remis 62 24 6 Giant tiger shrimp Milkfish
Kuala Karang 60 12 3 Giant tiger shrimp Milkfish
Total 1,098 172 116
Tab.4
1925 1973 1991 2007
Area in ha 5555 7164 7786 7936
86 karstens & lukas
of the Kapuas estuary in Kuala Karang (Figure 3), causing social conicts. Since the time of
our eld research, the brackish aquaculture area on Sepuk Laut Island has further expanded.
It now covers an area of 1,445 ha (see Figure 2).
Data of the aquaculture areas received from the provincial Authority of Marine Aairs and
Fisheries from 2011 (Table 3) roughly corresponds to the size of the aquaculture areas de-
tected in the satellite images in Sepuk Laut, but clearly underestimates the area converted
into aquaculture ponds in Selat Remis and Kuala Karang (cf. Tables 2 and 3). However,
the data complements the results of our satellite image analysis by providing a picture of
Fig.2: Aquaculture development on Sepuk Laut Island and in Selat Remis in the Kapuas estuary
between 2002 and 2014 (based on an analysis of Landsat images, provided by the U.S. Geolo-
gical Survey)
87
CONTESTED AQUACULTURE DEVELOPMENT, WEST KALIMANTAN
the approximate number of ponds and pond operators. Accordingly, in 2011 a total of 116
aquaculture farmers owned 172 ponds, covering a total area of 1,098 ha on Sepuk Laut
Island, in Selat Remis and Kuala Karang (Table 3).
Indonesian forest areas, including mangrove forests, are legally classied into protected,
production and conversion forests. ese forest classes are incorporated in spatial plan-
ning documents. In protected forests, logging is illegal. An overlay of the aquaculture areas
detected in the satellite images with the protected forest areas reveals that all aquaculture
ponds established in the Kapuas estuary region between the end of 2000 and 2014 replaced
protected mangrove forests (see Figures 2 & 3).
Fig.3: Total area of brackish aquaculture ponds established in the protected mangrove forests of
the Kapuas estuary region as of February 2014 (based on an analysis of Landsat images, provided
by the U.S. Geological Survey)
88 karstens & lukas
Tab.3: Status of aquaculture development in the Kapuas estuary region, based on data from the
provincial Authority of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (Dinas Kelautan dan Perikanan Kalimantan
Barat 2011)
e establishment of many of the aquaculture ponds also violates regulations regarding coas-
tal green belts. To protect coastlines from erosion and preserve the function of mangroves
as nursery grounds, greenbelt policies started to be formulated in Indonesia in 1975 with a
decree by the Director General for Fisheries (Instruction No. Hl/4/2/18/1975), designating
coastal green belts of 400 m width (Burbridge & Koesoebiono 1982; Choong et al. 1990;
Wibisono & Suryadiputra 2006). Subsequent Joint Ministerial Decrees from 1984 (No.
KB 550/246/KPTS/4/1984 and No. 082/KPTSII/1984) which designated protected green
belts of 200 m width were superseded in 1990 by Presidential Decree No. 32/1990 which
stipulates a mangrove green belt with a width measuring at least 130 times the average tidal
range. However, since the decentralisation of political power in 2004, greenbelt regulations
have become “a matter of interpretation” and are partly not enforced at the provincial and
district level (BAPPENAS & Partners for Water Programme 2013: 3). Based on the assump-
tion of an obligatory mangrove and peat swamp forest green belt of 400 m, Figure 4 depicts
the aquaculture pond areas that not only illegally replaced protected mangrove forest, but
also violate green belt regulations. In fact, the regional Authority for Marine Aairs and
Fisheries, as indicated in interviews and in written correspondence with other authorities
(Letter 523.1/229/DKP-E, Dinas Perikanan dan Kelautan Kubu Raya, 2010), assumes an
obligatory green belt of no less than 500 m width along the coast.
4 THE ‘AQUACULTURE ALLIANCE’ AND ITS STRUGGLES
FOR EX-POST LEGALISATION
In trying to understand the political processes related to the conversion of legally protected
mangrove forests into aquaculture ponds, our research approach combining remote sensing
with social-scientic political ecology inspired inquiry proved particularly fruitful. e re-
sults not only reveal insights into the actor coalitions causing, promoting and justifying the
SHORT TITLE Y
Tab.2
Year Sepuk Laut Selat Remis Kuala Karang Total
2002 46 - - 46
2007 495 111 - 606
2011 943 203 127 1,273
2014 1,445 225 127 1,797
Goal of District Authorities
of Marine Affairs and
Fisheries
1,600 1,500 500 3,600
Tab.3
Location Total area
(ha)
Number of
ponds
Number of
farmers
Main
species
Other
species
Sepuk Laut 976 136 107 Milkfish Giant tiger
shrimp
Selat Remis 62 24 6 Giant tiger shrimp Milkfish
Kuala Karang 60 12 3 Giant tiger shrimp Milkfish
Total 1,098 172 116
Tab.4
1925 1973 1991 2007
Area in ha 5555 7164 7786 7936
89
CONTESTED AQUACULTURE DEVELOPMENT, WEST KALIMANTAN
rapid development of aquaculture development, but also contrast some actors’ political fra-
mings of the dynamics of aquaculture development with the actual transformations detected
in satellite images. e ndings not only document but have the potential to inuence the
course of the on-going political struggle.
e rapid conversion of vast mangrove forest areas into aquaculture ponds has not only led
to conicts with and between local residents (as will be shown below), but involves contro-
versial political struggles that have reached the national level, with the Ministry of Forestry
and the Ministry of Marine Aairs and Fisheries in disagreement over the legal and political
handling of the land conversions.
Fig.4: Violations of the coastal buffer zone in Sepuk Laut and Selat Remis, based on the analysis
of Landsat images and the assumption of an obligatory mangrove and peat swamp forest green
belt of 400 m.
90 karstens & lukas
Disagreements between sheries and forestry authorities are not uncommon in Indonesia
and date back to the 1970s, when both departments were still under the Ministry of Ag-
riculture. e Department of Forestry sought to re-establish former mangrove areas used
for brackish water shponds, while the Department of Fishery viewed only the mangroves
directly along the shoreline as necessary (Burbridge & Koesoebiono 1982). Accordingly,
the greenbelt regulation was introduced by the Directorate General of Fisheries in 1975.
Until today, the division of responsibilities and modes of collaboration between sheries
and forestry authorities are not clearly dened, so that confusion and conicts continue
to emerge.
Most of the aquaculture ponds on Sepuk Laut Island are based on new land that has been
created through sedimentation over the course of the 20th century (see Figure 5). Newly
formed land is usually classied as state land in Indonesia, though political struggles over
new land in other areas, including the Segara Anakan lagoon on Java’s south coast, show
that regulations are partly unclear and contradictory (J. Heyde, personal communication).
Regarding Sepuk Laut Island, a representative of the Regional Planning and Development
Board at district level explained that new land that is situated within a distance of 4 km
from a village becomes the property of the local community. If the new land is located more
than 4 km away from a village, it is under the authority of the state. If the surrounding
area is protected forest, the new land also has the status of protected forest.
In August 2000, the Ministry of Forestry declared large mangrove areas on Sepuk Laut Is-
land and in Selat Remis as protected forest (see Figures 2 & 3, Ministerial Decree No. 259/
KPTS-II). e aquaculture farmers whom we interviewed were aware of the fact that they
had established their ponds in protected mangrove forests. But they also knew that they had
a strong ally with the Agency of Marine Aairs and Fisheries, which supports aquaculture de-
velopment in the area. e provincial and district-level authorities provided the aquaculture
farmers with contacts to hatcheries and labour agencies, and in 2007 they even established
new navigation channels in the protected mangrove forest of Sepuk Laut Island to improve
access to and support the further development of aquaculture ponds. In 2000, when the
rst ponds were constructed at the southern end of Sepuk Laut Island, no channels were
visible yet in the satellite images. e Landsat image from 2007 shows two channels leading
directly to the hotspots of aquaculture development, where several ponds were established
close to each other (see Figures 2 & 3). ese drivers and patterns of mangrove conversion in
Sepuk Laut Island are comparable to the drivers and patterns of peat swamp forest clearance
in Kubu Raya, which initially advances along the drainage and navigation channels (as was
also noted by Nakagami & Chakraborty 2009).
e strong support of the Authorities for Marine Aairs and Fisheries for aquaculture deve-
lopment in legally protected mangrove forests of the Kapuas estuary seems surprising, but
91
CONTESTED AQUACULTURE DEVELOPMENT, WEST KALIMANTAN
broadly conforms to ndings from other parts of Indonesia. In his case study in Sulawesi,
Armitage (2002) noted that the provincial Fishery Department pushed coastal aquaculture
development and recommended additional infrastructure construction without taking into
consideration biophysical conditions including soil suitability, longer-term impacts on
coastal sheries, and increasing regional concerns about mangrove forest decline.
However, the large-scale conversion of protected mangrove forests in the Kapuas estuary has
met opposition and led to political and legal struggles. Revealing some of the dynamics of
these struggles not only helps to better understand the environmental transformations in
the estuary but provides some insight into related social conicts and the arena of regional
political actors.
Confronted with the forest authorities’ opposition to the conversion of protected mangrove
forests (Department of Forestry 2008), the Authorities of Marine Aairs and Fisheries
defended the aquaculture operators by strategically narrating historical events in a parti-
cular sequence and by claiming that mainly the ‘local communities’ would benet from
the development. According to the narrative of representatives of the provincial Autho-
rity of Marine Aairs and Fisheries, the forestry authorities assigned the coastal areas as
protected forest in 2000, although local community members had practiced aquaculture
farming in these areas long before. ey stated that aquaculture ponds had already been
established more than 30 years ago when sh stocks started to be depleted in the 1970s.
ey explained that transmigrants who were moved into the Kapuas estuary from Java,
introduced the aquaculture techniques. “Together with community members we started
further aquaculture projects in recent years to create new opportunities and jobs for the
shermen.” (Interview with a representative of the provincial Authority of Marine Aairs
and Fisheries, 2012-03-02).
A similar story was narrated by a representative of the Sub-District Authority of Marine
Aairs and Fisheries in Sungai Kakap, but with diering dates. According to him, aqua-
culture development in the Kapuas estuary started in 1998, two years before the Ministry
of Forestry decided to declare most of the aected area as protected forest. He pointed
out that “it will be dicult to change what the community has long been doing. Because
the gasoline prices went up, many shermen sold their boats and work in the aquaculture
business now. ey made many eorts to construct the ponds before the regulation about
the land status changed.” (Interview with representative of Sub-District Authority of Ma-
rine Aairs and Fisheries in Sungai Kakap, 2012-04-17). Narrating the same version of
historical events, a representative of the District Authority of Marine Aairs and Fisheries
of Kubu Raya explained that if the aquaculture farmers have clear proof that their ponds
existed before 2000, when the areas were designated protected forest, their land will im-
mediately be excluded from the protected forest area.
92 karstens & lukas
Contrary to the narratives told by the Authorities of Marine Aairs and Fisheries at the
province, district and sub-district levels, our analysis of satellite images shows that the rst
brackish aquaculture ponds on Sepuk Laut Island were established at the end of 2000. In
line with the results of the satellite image analysis, our interviews with aquaculture farmers
revealed that the rst brackish aquaculture pond on Sepuk Laut Island was established by a
migrant from Makassar, South Sulawesi, in September 2000 and hence after the areas had
been declared protected forest. Our series of satellite images impressively documents the
rapid development of aquaculture thereafter (Figure 2). Our interviews with aquaculture
farmers and local residents in Sepuk Laut and Kuala Karang also contradict the claim of
the Authorities of Marine Aairs and Fisheries that the aquaculture development is mainly
driven by, implemented in collaboration with and for the benet of local residents. Instead,
by far most of the aquaculture ponds are owned and operated by migrants who moved into
the area from South Sulawesi or outsiders who live around Pontianak, while only a few ponds
are owned by people from the local communities.
Additional insight into the emergence of the coalition of actors pushing and benetting from
aquaculture development in the Kapuas estuary was provided during an interview with a
representative of the local police: “A local NGO reported some cases of illegal aquaculture
ponds on Sepuk Laut Island to the Forestry Department in 2002. e forestry authorities
forwarded the news to the governor of West Kalimantan, who was planning to visit the area
at that time. e governor saw that Sepuk Laut was suitable for aquaculture business and
invested himself. en the development just really started and new canals were built. Again,
the local NGO reported the cases – now covering more than 50 illegal ponds. e Ministry
of Forestry had to react and went to court.” (Interview, 2012-04-17). In 2003, the former
Governor joined the harvest with aquaculture farmers at Dabong in order to show them his
support (Masyarakat Nelayan Dabong 2010).
To sum up, combining information provided by dierent respondents and ndings from our
analysis of satellite images, the following sequence of events provides a plausible, though cer-
tainly by far not complete, summary of the course of events driving aquaculture development
in the Kapuas estuary: (1) e coastal areas were designated protected forest by the Ministry
of Forestry in 2000. (2) Subsequently, migrants from South Sulawesi set up the rst aqua-
culture ponds on Sepuk Laut Island. (3) An NGO reported the cases of illegal aquaculture
development to the forest authorities. (4) One or several representatives of the province of
West Kalimantan thereupon became aware of the economic potential of aquaculture in the
area and themselves invested in aquaculture ponds. (5) e province, district and sub-district
authorities of Marine Aairs and Fisheries intensied material and provided political support
for aquaculture development. (6) Massive aquaculture development has since then led to the
rapid clearance of large areas of protected mangrove forest in the Kapuas estuary, triggering
social conicts and posing environmental challenges, which will be discussed below.
93
CONTESTED AQUACULTURE DEVELOPMENT, WEST KALIMANTAN
While the ‘aquaculture alliance’, comprising the aquaculture operators, the Fisheries Autho-
rities on dierent levels, and representatives of the state, had already irreversibly transformed
the social-ecological landscape of the Kapuas estuary, i.e. had created a fait accompli, political
and legal struggles over these transformations reached national level authorities and were
still ongoing at the time of our research in 2012.
e case of the aquaculture ponds in the Kapuas estuary and the power struggle between
the forestry and sheries authorities went to the Indonesian Constitutional Court in 2009.
According to information from the Authorities of Marine Aairs and Fisheries, 58 people
were summoned to court in order to be questioned about the illegal conversions of protected
mangrove forest. Half of the aquaculture farmers were allegedly not able to attend because
of the high travel costs, and the other half reportedly could not aord a lawyer. At the time
of our eld research in 2012, the court case was still under investigation. For the time being,
the aquaculture farmers were allowed to continue their practices (Masyarakat Nelayan Da-
bong 2010), and as recent satellite images show, the aquaculture pond area has been further
increased on the cost of protected mangrove forests between 2011 and 2014 (see Figure 2).
Independent of the court case, the province and district Authorities of Marine Aairs and
Fisheries continued their eort towards an ex-post legalisation of the already existing aqua-
culture ponds and for further aquaculture development. In 2010, they sent a proposal to
revise the spatial plans of Kubu Raya to the Regional Planning and Development Board.
e proposal aims at excluding the current as well as potential future aquaculture areas in
Sepuk Laut, Selat Remis and Kuala Karang from the protected forest area. In their letter
the sheries authorities argue that “it is an urgent matter to ght for, because it concerns
the livelihoods of many people” (Letter 523.1/229/DKP-E, District Authority of Marine
Aairs and Fisheries Kubu Raya 2010). e authors of the letter also acknowledge that “for
environmental conservation, prevention and anticipation of natural disasters, the forest area
along the coast has to be at least 500 m wide. For areas vulnerable to erosion, even a minimum
of 1000 m of forest should be maintained” (ibid.). Interestingly, this statement contradicts
with the proposal to exclude the aquaculture areas from the protected forest, because with the
southern part of Sepuk Laut Island being only 1-3 km wide, barely any aquaculture would
be possible with a 500-1,000 m wide greenbelt. On the contrary, the proposal shows that the
Authorities of Marine Aairs and Fisheries anticipate and are planning to push additional
aquaculture development on a large scale. e proposal suggests excluding an area of 1,600
ha from the protected forest area on Sepuk Laut Island alone, and an additional 1,500 ha
in Selat Remis and 500 ha in Kuala Karang. is would open the possibility for a doubling
of the current aquaculture area to a total of 3,600 ha (see Table 2).
e provincial forest authorities seem to have started backing down, but it remains open
whether the entire proposal by the sheries authorities will be approved. A representative
94 karstens & lukas
of the forest authority stated that 400 ha of protected forests might shift into another land
use category in the upcoming spatial plan. But nal decisions will be made by the national
Ministry of Forestry in Jakarta. Kubu Raya’s Regional Planning and Development Board
was at the time of research still waiting for a decision at the national level to be incorporated
into the upcoming spatial plan for the period 2012-2032.
While the ‘aquaculture alliance’ and the forest authorities struggle with opposing interests
over the legal status of the land, local residents are often not sure ‘which side’ they should take.
In case the legal status of the land surrounding their villages is changed from protected forest
to conversion forest, more investors from outside might rush into their territory, aiming to
convert more land into aquaculture ponds or plantation estates. If the legal status of the land
surrounding their villages remains protected forest, local residents run the risk that their own
resource uses might be considered illegal. “How can we make our daily living if we are not
allowed to touch our resources?” (Interview with a resident of Sepuk Laut, 2012-04-17).
Conicts between the forest authorities’ mangrove protection policies and local residents,
who claimed rights over the areas, some of which had already been converted from mang-
roves into sh ponds or agricultural uses, are nothing new in Indonesia (see, for example,
Burbridge & Koesoebiono 1982). However, the conict over the brackish aquaculture ponds
in the Kapuas estuary is of a dierent nature, with recent large-scale conversions of mang-
rove areas, taking place after the areas had been declared protected forest and mainly driven
by migrants who moved into the area from South Sulawesi and outsiders who live around
Pontianak rather than by local residents. e case of aquaculture development in Sepuk Laut
Island, where investors backed by the Authorities of Marine Aairs and Fisheries have con-
verted large areas of protected mangrove forest over a period of 14 years, drastically exposes
the weakness of law enforcement, the large room to manoeuvre that some actors enjoy, and
the importance of the right political connections.
5 FORMATION AND EROSION OF NEW LAND
e conversion of mangrove forests to aquaculture pond areas might alter coastal erosion and
sedimentation processes on the island of Sepuk Laut. Since the 1920s, coastal sedimentation
has substantially enlarged the island and created the land that is presently the basis for the
aquaculture ponds. Our reconstruction of historical shorelines, based on a historical topogra-
phical map and a series of satellite images, documents the sedimentation process since 1925
(Figure 5, Table 4). Mangroves have undoubtedly played an important role in the formation
of the new land areas. ough mangroves are not capable of ‘building up land’, they colonize
newly deposited and unstable sediments, thereby consolidating them and promoting further
sedimentation. Mangrove roots break the wave and wind energy and slow down abrasion
95
CONTESTED AQUACULTURE DEVELOPMENT, WEST KALIMANTAN
processes (Blasco et al. 1996; Northcote & Hartman 2004). e logging of mangroves for
aquaculture development likely contributes to reduced coastal sedimentation and increased
abrasion in parts of the island. Residents of the village of Sepuk Laut described recently
increased coastal abrasion along the west coast as a major issue. e village is situated at the
island’s west coast, north of the aquaculture ponds. Many residents, most of whom do not
benet from the aquaculture development, collect crabs and mussels in the mangrove forests
throughout the island and catch sh along the entire coast. ey are thus aware of recently
increased abrasion. A village representative of Sepuk Laut pointed out:
Abrasion is a real problem for our island. We have to face two seasons with strong winds:
southern sea winds from July to September and northern sea winds from February until
April. For coastal protection we tried to plant mangrove trees, but the wind and the tides
were too strong. Now we try to make a net out of coconut bre, which can be xed under-
water with stones. en we can plant mangroves successfully behind the net, because they
Fig.5: Coastline changes on Sepuk Laut Island between 1925 and 2011, based on (1) a historical
topographical map, scale 1:50,000, prepared under the direction of the U.S. Army in 1942, pho-
tolithographed and reprinted from a Dutch map dated 1925; and (2) Landsat images from 1973,
1991 and 2007, provided by the U.S. Geological Survey
96 karstens & lukas
are protected. e net will be around 4 km long and costs us about Rp. 200-300 millions
[ca. € 16,000- 24,000].” (Interview, 2012-04-17).
Our analysis of shoreline changes conrms the residents’ observations. During the period
1991-2007, abrasion has, in contrast to the previous periods analysed, for the rst time ex-
ceeded sedimentation along large parts of the island’s west coast (see Figure 5).
While some aquaculture ponds at the west coast have already begun to be aected by abrasion,
the operators of many ponds in the southern part of the island still observed sedimentation.
Although sedimentation blocks the navigation channels, the aquaculture farmers in the south
described mainly positive aspects of sedimentation, pointing out that the deposition of sedi-
ments protects the sh and shrimp ponds from oshore-hazards such as oil spills. As one aqua-
culture farmer stated “bad things cannot reach my pond.” (Aquaculture farmer, 2012-04-05).
Tab.4: Area of Sepuk Laut island (calculations based on historical map and Landsat images, see
Figure 5)
Before nal conclusions can be drawn, further research should elaborate the linkages between
mangrove deforestation, aquaculture development and coastal abrasion and sedimentation
processes in the Kapuas estuary region. If it is true that the mangrove conversions lead to
accelerated coastal abrasion, then the ‘aquaculture alliance’ has not only deprived many lo-
cal residents of the mangrove forests that they had previously used for collecting crabs and
mussels, but has even started to undermine the very basis of parts of the island.
e following sections will shed light on the aquaculture production techniques and related
environmental and economic challenges and social conicts linked to the brackish aquacul-
ture developments.
6 PRODUCTION TECHNIQUES AND THEIR SUSTAINABILITY
Plans for aquaculture development in the Kapuas estuary had already been proposed be-
fore the rst Bugis from South Sulawesi initiated brackish aquaculture on a larger scale.
e Integrated Swamp Development Project (ISDP), which aimed at upgrading the inf-
rastructure of transmigration and swamp development schemes in the provinces of Riau,
Jambi and West Kalimantan and which was implemented in the 1990s by the Directorate
SHORT TITLE Y
Tab.2
Year Sepuk Laut Selat Remis Kuala Karang Total
2002 46 - - 46
2007 495 111 - 606
2011 943 203 127 1,273
2014 1,445 225 127 1,797
Goal of District Authorities
of Marine Affairs and
Fisheries
1,600 1,500 500 3,600
Tab.3
Location Total area
(ha)
Number of
ponds
Number of
farmers
Main
species
Other
species
Sepuk Laut 976 136 107 Milkfish Giant tiger
shrimp
Selat Remis 62 24 6 Giant tiger shrimp Milkfish
Kuala Karang 60 12 3 Giant tiger shrimp Milkfish
Total 1,098 172 116
Tab.4
1925 1973 1991 2007
Area in ha 5555 7164 7786 7936
97
CONTESTED AQUACULTURE DEVELOPMENT, WEST KALIMANTAN
of Swamps under the Ministry of Public Works and funded by the World Bank, included
an aquaculture component. According to a related project document “[a]quaculture is
not widely practiced in any of the ISDP schemes. Poor soil and water quality, the farmers’
insucient knowledge, experience and skill, inadequate capital and management, and
shortage of labour and sh fry are the causes” (Directorate of Swamps 1992: 19). e
aquaculture component of the project was planned to comprise technical support, exten-
sion and training programmes, and the strengthening of the aquaculture support system.
It was planned to establish demonstration ponds and oer training in pond construction
in order to avoid the formation of acid sulfate soils (ibid.). ese goals were never achieved
in the Kapuas estuary.
e aquaculture farmers interviewed in Sepuk Laut Island established their ponds on their
own and did not receive any training, neither from a project initiative such as the ISDP,
nor from the Department of Marine Aairs and Fisheries. e migrant from Sulawesi who
opened the rst pond on Sepuk Laut Island in 2000 had learned his aquafarming skills
from friends in his hometown Makassar. Other aquaculture farmers subsequently learned
most of their skills from people who had already established ponds on Sepuk Laut Island.
Some pond owners hired experienced but ‘cheap’ aquaculture workers from Java.
Most aquaculture farmers cultivate milksh (Ikan Bandeng, Chanos chanos) and giant tiger
shrimp (Udang Windu, Penaeus monodon). ese species also occur naturally in the coastal
waters close to the mangrove forests. Milksh is produced for local consumption, while
shrimps are destined for export markets and, according to the aquaculture operators inter-
viewed, sold via traders to Singapore. In the 1970s, milksh was still the main species in
Indonesian aquaculture, and shrimps only a by-product (Djajadiredja & Purnomo 1972).
But due to high market prices for shrimp, aquaculture farmers in many parts of Indone-
sia have shifted from milksh to shrimp production. Hence, the goal of generating cash
incomes and foreign exchange has replaced the previous aim to produce domestic protein
as the main driver of aquaculture development (Choong et al. 1990; Yusuf 1995). During
the Asian economic crisis in the late 1990s, shrimp prices remained relatively high, which
pushed further expansion of aquaculture farms (Bosma et al. 2012). e shrimp farmers
interviewed in Sepuk Laut Island received Rp. 62,000-122,000 (ca. € 5-10) per kg, depen-
ding on the size of the shrimps.
Establishing an aquaculture pond requires substantial investment. An aquaculture farmer
on Sepuk Laut Island summed up costs of Rp. 70 million (ca. € 5,600) for a pond of 5-6
ha, including costs for land clearing. Additional costs incurred for receiving the permits and
related bribes, for infrastructure (e.g. transportation, oce, feed warehouse), raw material
(e.g. sh and shrimp fry, feed, pesticides), and labour. Total expenditure can amount up
to Rp. 300 million (ca. € 24,000).
98 karstens & lukas
Aquaculture systems can be dierentiated into extensive, semi-intensive, and intensive far-
ming. In extensive systems, sh and shrimp seed are collected in mangroves or trapped in the
ponds through open sluice gates during high tide (Armitage 2002; Froese & Pauly 2012).
Additional feed is applied to supplement natural nutrients. Water renewal in the ponds de-
pends mainly on tidal uctuations; in some cases small pumps may be installed. Maximum
yields range between 400 and 800 kg per ha per year (Yusuf 1995). In semi-intensive systems
productivity is raised with fertilizers, pesticides and special feed. Two harvests per year are
possible and total yields range between 1 and 2 tons per ha per year (Yusuf 1995). Aeration
is needed to assure sucient oxygen content (Choong et al. 1990). Oxygen is consumed
during decomposition, and toxic amounts of ammonia and nitrite can be released. To avoid
oxygen depletion and massive sh kill, production can be limited to a certain amount of
sh, the water can be exchanged regularly or the pond can be aerated articially (Bosma
& Verdegem 2011). Intensive aquaculture farming systems are ‘technologized’, often with
concrete pond bottoms to ease harvest and a number of aerators providing for sucient
oxygen levels. With high quality feed, pesticides and antibiotics, production can reach 5-10
tons of shrimp per ha (Yusuf 1995). e aquaculture ponds in the Kapuas estuary combine
Fig.6: Newly constructed aquaculture ponds in Kuala Karang (S. Karstens, 2012)
99
CONTESTED AQUACULTURE DEVELOPMENT, WEST KALIMANTAN
characteristics of extensive and semi-intensive systems (Figure 6). Fish eggs and shrimp lar-
vae are bought from Java. Usually the farmers apply pesticides and fertilizers. But for water
renewal, most farmers in the Kapuas estuary depend on tidal uctuations – a characteristic
of extensive systems.
Fish and shrimp are harvested 2-3 times per year, at night when the animals are active. Sluice
gates are opened, so the water ows out, and sh and shrimp can be caught with simple nets
hung over the gates (Figure 7). About ten workers are needed to hold the nets and collect
the remaining sh on the dry pond ground. e workers either receive a share of the revenue
or xed wages of Rp. 100,000 (ca € 8) per person per night, which is above standard wages
in the shery sector in West Kalimantan (BKPM & JICA 2005) and above the wages for
workers paid by oil palm and logging companies.
Aquaculture production in the Kapuas estuary is aected by seasonality. During the rainy
season, the amount of freshwater in the ponds becomes so high that milksh and shrimp
Fig.7: Sluice gate of an aquaculture pond on Sepuk Laut Island (S. Karstens, 2012)
100 karstens & lukas
would not survive. Consequently, the ponds are drained (Figure 8). Only aquaculture far-
mers who have installed pumps are not aected by seasonality because they simply pump
out the surplus of freshwater during the rainy season (Interviews with aquaculture farmers,
March-April 2012).
Seasonality not only limits productivity, but “[e]xcessive uctuations in abiotic factors like
oxygen, salinity, and temperature may […] increase stress and susceptibility to disease”
(Kautsky et al. 2000: 145). When rst signs of diseases appear, shrimp and sh are harves-
ted immediately. ey will be relatively small and hence less valuable, but early harvest can
prevent a complete harvest failure.
After each harvest, the grounds of the ponds are treated with pesticides. iodan, better
known as Endosulfan, an organochlorine insecticide and acaricide, is used to eliminate pre-
dators before new sh and shrimp fry are stocked. Due to its toxicity and bioaccumulation
potential, Endosulfan has been banned in over 80 countries (Umweltbundesamt 2011). In
April 2011, a global prohibition for the production and use of Endosulfan was agreed upon
in the frame of the Stockholm Convention (Baier 2012). Previously, the sh and shrimp
farmers on Sepuk Laut had used Akodan, which contains 35% of Endosulfan, but regarded
its eects as too weak.
Fig.8: Drained aquaculture pond on Sepuk Laut Island (March 2012). During the rainy season the
amount of freshwater becomes too high. Therefore many ponds are drained (M.C. Lukas, 2012).
101
CONTESTED AQUACULTURE DEVELOPMENT, WEST KALIMANTAN
One of the biggest problems regarding the conversion of mangroves into agricultural land
or aquaculture ponds is the development of acid sulfate soils. Mangrove soils are composed
of marine alluvial sediments which have been transported and deposited by rivers or the sea.
e substrate in mangrove areas is a combination of sand, silt and clay, rich in organic detrital
matter. Dissolved calcium originating from shells or, if present, from coral reefs, make the
brackish water around mangroves slightly alkaline, but mangrove soils are nevertheless acidic.
e acidity results from sulfur-reducing bacteria (Northcote & Hartman 2004). Mangrove
soils usually contain large amounts of iron sulfur present as pyrite. e formation of pyrite
requires a source of sulfur (usually present in seawater), anaerobic conditions, energy supply
for bacteria (organic matter from mangroves), a supply of iron (terrestrial sediments), tidal
ushing to wash out reaction products, and temperatures above 10°C (Queensland Depart-
ment of Environment and Resource Management 2012). When potential acid sulfate soils
are drained and exposed to air, the oxidation process releases sulfuric acid. e problem is
exacerbated when the produced acid attacks ne clay particles and leads to a release of soluble
forms of aluminium, sometimes manganese and other heavy metals. e high concentra-
tion of soluble salts lowers the nutrient availability and the uptake of fertilizers. Phosphate
sticks to ferric and aluminium ions and is no longer available to the nutrient cycle. Coconut
trees can be cultivated on acid sulfate soils, but for other utilisations of mangrove soils to
succeed, liming is necessary to reduce acidity (Choong et al. 1990; MacKinnon 1996). To
reverse the formation of acid sulfate soils only in the top soil would require application of
100-150 million tons of lime per ha in the rst year and 20-30 million tons per ha in the
following four years (Directorate of Swamps 1992). Even transporting soil from another
location would be more cost eective. Without ploughing and liming, also shrimp and sh
production in ponds constructed in acid sulfate soils will rapidly decline after three to ve
years (Bosma et al. 2012).
To prevent the development of acid sulfate soils, the aquaculture farmers in the Kapuas
estuary apply Trisodium Phosphate (TSP) to the pond ground after every harvest. If too
much TSP is applied, a “green fungus” will develop once the pond is relled with water
(Interviews with aquaculture farmers, April 2012). Phosphate promotes algae growth and
can lead to eutrophication (see Figure 9).
In addition, approximately 50kg of Lodan, a fertilizer containing calcium, magnesium, nit-
rogen, potassium, and aluminum sulfate, is applied per hectare per year. Aluminum sulfate
is used to reduce sediment-turbidity, so that light can penetrate deep into the ponds. It is a
occulating agent, which causes particles in suspension to coagulate into larger particles and
precipitate (Wilkinson 1998). Aluminum sulfate is acid forming and may substantially lower
total alkalinity and pH to levels that are toxic for sh and shrimps (Wilkinson 1998). As
aquaculture farmers in the Kapuas estuary already have to deal with problems of acid sulfate
development, the choice of a fertilizer containing aluminum sulfate seems inappropriate.
102 karstens & lukas
According to the provincial Authority of Marine Aairs and Fisheries, aquaculture ponds in
the Kapuas estuary are threatened by mercury and zinc. While mercury obviously origina-
tes from gold mining upstream (see Adijaya & Takao 2004; Subanri 2008), the increasing
amounts of zinc could not be explained yet. Although evidence is missing, the increasing
zinc levels in the water of the Kapuas estuary might be linked to fertiliser application in
palm oil plantations on peat soils. e main fertilizer (‘Peat-Kay’), of which 8kg are applied
per tree per year (Interview with representative of palm oil company, 2012-04-25), contains
zinc (Agrifert Malaysia 2007). Part of the zinc content might be washed out and via the river
network eventually reach the aquaculture ponds in the estuary. However, nal conclusions
can only be drawn based on additional research.
Under the potential threat of law enforcement and after a number of newspapers and inter-
net sources published critical reports about aquaculture development in the Kapuas estuary
(see e.g. Department of Forestry 2008), linking it to illegal land grabbing in the protected
mangrove forest, the aquaculture farmers’ union encouraged the planting of mangrove trees
around the ponds. An aquaculture farmer noted that “the head of our aquaculture union
Fig.9: Application of Trisodium Phosphate to prevent the formation of acid sulfate soils can
lead to eutrophication of aquaculture ponds. Pond in the southern part of Sepuk Laut Island
(S. Karstens, 2012)
103
CONTESTED AQUACULTURE DEVELOPMENT, WEST KALIMANTAN
Fig.10: Under the potential threat of law enforcement and following critical reports in pubic media,
the aquaculture farmers’ union encouraged mangrove reforestation around the ponds, resulting
in the planting of a few Rhizophora trees around ponds and along the navigation channel (S.
Karstens / M.C. Lukas, 2012).
104 karstens & lukas
told us that it looked too naked around our ponds” (Interview, 2012-04-05). Some of the
farmers hence planted a few Rhizophora trees around their ponds (Figure 10). Two farmers
stated that they were also willing to try mixed aquaculture-mangrove systems, though they
were aware that the system would not be suitable for milksh.
7 AQUACULTURE DEVELOPMENT ON THE COST OF
CAPTURE FISHERIES?
ere is a broad, widely undisputed political consensus among sheries authorities and
beyond that aquaculture development is a good strategy to boost food production, improve
livelihoods and promote economic development. Brackish aquaculture development be-
came a political priority in Indonesia already in the 1980s (Yusuf 1995). Armitage (2002:
210), based on his case study in Sulawesi, noted that “aquaculture production systems are
considered by regional and district ocials to be economically ecient and congruent with
broader economic development goals.
A study on investment opportunities in Kalimantan, conducted in collaboration of the
Indonesian Investment Coordinating Board and Japans International Cooperation Agency
(BKPM & JICA 2005), identied sheries in addition to Aloe Vera farming and quartz sand
exploitation as most promising in Kubu Raya. According to the report, the brackish water
areas along the coast of West Kalimantan, comprising a total of 26,704 ha, have “a great
Fig.11: Fishery production in Kubu Raya in 2011 (Data from BPS Kabupaten Kubu Raya 2012)
105
CONTESTED AQUACULTURE DEVELOPMENT, WEST KALIMANTAN
potential in shrimp aquaculture” (BKPM & JICA 2005: 27). For the district of Kubu Raya,
the study identied an area of 10,935 ha as suitable for shrimp farming (BKPM & JICA
2005). By 2011, ‘only’ about one fth of this area, i.e. between 2,000 and 2,500 ha, including
aquaculture ponds outside of our study area in the southern part of the district, had already
been utilised. e report also notes that “[b]rackish water aquaculture needs professional
sta […]. Investors should hire professional stas from Java” (BKPM & JICA 2005: 27).
Referring to the Kapuas estuary region, representatives of the sheries authorities at dierent
administrative levels argued that aquaculture was necessary to promote economic develop-
ment, to compensate declining coastal sheries and to provide alternative livelihoods that
are less vulnerable to rising fuel prices. However, based on research results from other parts
of the world and indications from our preliminary research, the question arises whether the
aquaculture development in the Kapuas estuary region undermines the potential of capture
sheries, and hence, whether a minority of aquaculture operators, mainly comprising non-
local individuals, undermines the livelihood basis of the majority of the coastal residents,
who depend on coastal sheries and resources from the mangrove forests.
Most residents in the coastal zone of the district Kubu Raya base their livelihoods on shing.
Capture sheries contributed 92% of the total production and generated 81% of the total
revenue from the shery sector in Kubu Raya in 2011 (Figure 11; BPS Kabupaten Kubu
Raya 2012). However, while aquaculture production has increased, production from capture
sheries has declined over time,. e most valuable species are marine shrimp, which accoun-
ted for 95% of the shery export value in West Kalimantan in 2005 (BKPM & JICA 2005).
Between 2001 and 2003, over 90% of the shrimps came from capture sheries, while only
a small amount was cultured in brackish aquaculture ponds. But during the same period,
cultivated shrimp production increased by 4.4% annually, whereas the amount of captured
shrimp decreased by 5.5% annually (BKPM & JICA 2005).
e political narrative of the Authorities of Marine Aairs and Fisheries (2011), who argue
that declining capture sheries catches and high operational costs due to rising fuel costs
triggered rapid aquaculture development in Kubu Raya, not only neglects the fact that
aquaculture operators and coastal shers are dierent social groups, but also disregards
the possibility of linkages between capture sheries, mangrove ecosystems and aquaculture
development.
Mangroves provide habitat and serve as breeding and nursery areas for many sh, crustace-
ans (crabs and shrimps), bivalves (cockles, mussels, and oysters), and gastropods (snails and
slugs). Milksh (Chanos chanos), grouper (Epiniphelus spp), kakap (Latin name unknown)
and eels (Anguilliformes) are important sh species and sources of high quality protein in the
Kapuas estuary region. Some of these sh depend directly on healthy mangrove ecosystems;
106 karstens & lukas
others live in the adjacent coastal waters which receive nutritional input from the mangroves.
Mangroves are open ecosystems where organic and inorganic nutrients from terrestrial sour-
ces are transformed into dissolved and particulate matter that can be used in the estuary or
exported into the open sea to enter the oshore food chain (Dutrieux 1991; Nordhaus et al.
2005). Crustaceans in the Kapuas estuary which depend on healthy mangrove ecosystems
during their life cycle are giant tiger shrimps (Penaeus monodon), sand shrimps (Metape-
naeus spp.), and mangrove crabs (Scylla serrata).Prawns are trapped in triangle nets all over
the Kapuas estuary (Figure 12). A good season for catching prawn is October to December,
when strong winds add to the regular tide and push these species into the nets. Combining
information from various interviews and statistics, Table 5 lists the major sh and shrimp
species that are commonly caught by shers in the coastal waters of Kubu Raya. During the
stormy season it is too dangerous to go out shing on the open sea with traditional boats;
therefore the shermen depend on catching prawns in the river nets or collecting crabs in
the mangrove forests (Interview with head of the shers’ union, 2012-04-20).
Tab.5: Fish and shrimp species caught by local shers in the Kapuas estuary (Data based on
interviews with members of shers’ unions, village heads and a representative of the Authority of
Marine Affairs and Fisheries; BPS Kabupaten Kubu Raya 2012). Habitat: blue = open sea; green
= coastal waters; brown = freshwater; * = species associated with mangroves
In terms of economic value, shrimps are the most valuable shery resource associated with
mangroves and “[p]ositive correlations between oshore yield of shrimps and the amount
of mangrove forest in the nursery area have been demonstrated throughout the tropics
SHORT TITLE Y
Tab. 5
Scientific name English name Indonesian name
Total
production
Kubu Raya
2011 (in tons)
Total value 2011 Selling price
in million
Rp. in € in Rp./kg in €/kg
Scomberomorus Narrow-barred
Spanish mackerel Ikan Tenggiri 446 14,278 1,145,631 40,000 3,21
Ikan Titip
10,000 0,80
Ilisha pristigastroides Javan Ilisha Ikan Puput
20,000 1,60
Ariidae Catfish Ikan Manyung
Pampus argenteus Silver pomfret Ikan Bawal 32 1,113 89,304
Trichiurus lepturus Largehead hairtail Ikan Layur 960 2,688 215,678
Anguilliformes spp.* Eel* Ikan Malong*
Platophyrs ocellatus Eyed flunder Ikan Sebelah 19 66 5,296
Batoidea spp. Ray Ikan Sinar
Chanos chanos* Milkfish* Ikan Bandeng*
Ikan Mayong 7,000 – 15,000 0,56 - 1,2
Ikan Gulama
Ikan Kakap* 5 185 14,844
Epiniphelus spp* Grouper* Kerapu* 36 789 63,307
Macrobrachium
rosenbergii Giant river prawn Udang Galah 33 835 66,998
Udang Wangkang 65,000 5,22
Penaeus monodon* Giant tiger shrimps* Udang Windu*
Metapenaeus spp.* Sand shrimps* Udang Dogol* 514 11,843 950,253 35,000 2,81
Udang The 1,379 3,448 276,659
107
CONTESTED AQUACULTURE DEVELOPMENT, WEST KALIMANTAN
Fig.12: Giant river prawn, Macrobrachium rosenbergii (12-1) and prawn net in the Kapuas estuary
(12-2) (S. Karstens, 2012)
108 karstens & lukas
(Rönnbäck 1999: 245). Shrimp are temporary residents of mangrove areas. Pelagic shrimp
larvae drift into estuaries where mangrove forests become their nursery areas and the larvae
subsist on detritus. Reaching the sub-adult to adult stages, the shrimp return to the open sea
where they start breeding. A cycle oshore-estuary-oshore is formed (Choong et al. 1990).
With the clearance of large mangrove areas for brackish aquaculture development in the
Kapuas estuary region, the various ecosystem services associated with mangroves, including
their function as breeding and nursery ground, are lost. e negative eects on the diversity
and abundance of marine life in coastal waters and related impacts on coastal sheries can
be immense. Whitten et al. (1987, quoted in MacKinnon 1996: 515) estimated the hid-
den costs behind the conversion of mangroves into aquaculture ponds. He found that “the
average coastal sh pond in Sumatra produces 287 kg of sh/ha but that the loss of 1 ha of
mangrove to aquaculture leads to a net loss of oshore shrimp and sh of approximately 480
kg/ha/year”. While the pond owner might gain (in the beginning), the overall economic win
diminishes, and local shers have to carry the consequences.
But the clear-cutting of the mangrove forests in Sepuk Laut Island may have negative im-
pacts not only on the coastal sheries, but also on aquaculture production itself. With un-
sustainable aquaculture practices, the pond operators might undermine their own basis of
production. Apart from the problem of acid sulfate soils and negative eects of pesticides,
the loss of the mangrove forests and their ecosystem services (Table 6) may undermine the
productivity and protability of aquaculture, and the resulting reliance on more external
inputs may have additional environmental impacts.
Tab.6: Ecosystem services of mangroves for aquaculture and capture sheries (modied and
extended after Rönnbäck 1999: 23)
SHORT TITLE Y
Tab. 6
for capture fisheries
Ecosystem
services
of mangroves
for aquaculture
Food abundance Storm and
flood protection
Predation refuge
Lateral trapping Erosion control
Outwelling Sediment trapping
Stabilizing salinity Nutrient input
Lowering turbidity Naturally occurring
shrimp larvae
Filtering pollutants
109
CONTESTED AQUACULTURE DEVELOPMENT, WEST KALIMANTAN
Apart from the negative eects of mangrove clearance, research in other areas has shown that
the gathering of wild shrimp larva for aquaculture ponds contributed to declining capture
sheries (see Dewalt et al. 1996; Primavera 2006). is is not the case in the Kapuas estuary
where aquaculture operators (at least those interviewed) buy their larvae from hatcheries
and do not collect them. However, the overall environmental and economic performance
of shrimp production in aquaculture as compared to captured shrimp further deteriorates
if one takes into account that about 2.8 tons of wild sh processed into shmeal are used
to produce 1 ton of shrimp in aquacultures (Naylor et al. 2000; also see Hannesson 2003;
Kautsky et al. 2000; Natale et al. 2012).
Precise data regarding the degradation of mangrove forests and declining capture sheries
does not yet exist for Kubu Raya. A survey which integrates (1) changes in mangrove area,
(2) changes in capture sheries, and (3) shery eort, including time spend oshore, modi-
cations of shing gear, changes in territory or shipping distances, and number of shermen
(see Ruitenbeek 1992), would support the identication of linkages between the condition
of mangrove forests and coastal sheries. e head of the shers’ union in Sepuk Laut sta-
ted that mangrove degradation would especially aect the naturally occurring giant tiger
shrimps, because they use the mangrove forests as nursery areas. A village representative of
Sepuk Laut noted that shers nowadays have to go further out to catch the same amount of
sh and shrimp as in previous years, because the ushing of waste water from the aquaculture
ponds aects the coastal waters. Fact is that the pond waste water contains pesticides like
iodan and Akodan, which are highly toxic.
8 DISPARITIES AND CONFLICTS BETWEEN WINNERS AND LOSERS
Both the coastal landscape of the Kapuas estuary region and the revenues of sheries pro-
duction in Kubu Raya are increasingly dominated by brackish aquaculture. e benets and
negative impacts of this transformation are unequally distributed within society. Mangrove
forests, a common property used by many local residents and an important basis for coastal
sheries, are being converted into aquaculture ponds and privatized. Complex multi-resour-
ce ecosystems are being transformed into simplied single-use-systems benetting only a
small number of people (cf. Bailey 1985, quoted in Adger & Luttrell 2000; Armitage 2002).
About four fths of the male residents of the village of Sepuk Laut are shermen (Interview
with head of the shers’ union, 2012-04-17), depending on coastal sheries that in turn
partly depend on the mangrove forests. In addition, many residents directly use(d) resour-
ces of the mangrove forests, such as crabs and mussels, throughout the island. e rapid
development of aquaculture undermines their resource base and possibly contributes to the
threat of coastal erosion.
110 karstens & lukas
Contrasting with the argument of the sheries authorities that an ex-post legalisation of the
aquaculture ponds “is an urgent matter […], because it concerns the livelihoods of many
people” (Letter 523.1/229/DKP-E, District Authority of Marine Aairs and Fisheries Kubu
Raya 2010), the number of people driving and beneting from aquaculture development
is actually comparatively small. In 2011, the almost 1,000 ha of brackish aquacultures on
Sepuk Laut Island were managed by only 107 operators, while about 1,100 local shers
depended on capture sheries. Consequently, a large number of local shers might be im-
paired by the activities of a small number of non-local aquaculture operators. According to
interviews with aquaculture operators, around 45% of the investors are non-local Chinese,
40% are migrants mainly from Sulawesi with few from Java, and 15% are Malay. e great
majority of the local residents does not benet from the development, either directly or in-
directly via taxes. A village representative of Sepuk Laut stated that “[t]he aquaculture ponds
are only benecial to some people, but the others do not get anything. e Department for
Fisheries does not allow us to collect taxes from pond owners.” (Interview, 2012-04-17).
Taxes are paid directly to the state authorities, who push the development, and not to the
local communities. e pond owners are not big companies, but most of them are also not
local community members as narrated in interviews with representatives of the sheries
authorities. Discussing the distribution of the benets and costs of wetland conversions,
Adger & Luttrell (2000) argued that former users of coastal wetland resources should be
compensated after the land conversion, not only on a short-term basis but over the longer
term with new employment options. However, the aquaculture farms in the Kapuas estuary
are not labour-intensive and will hardly meet these criteria. Usually, labourers are needed
only at the time of harvest.
In Kuala Karang, the conversion of 127 ha of mangrove forest in close proximity to the
village into aquaculture ponds by outsiders between 2008 and 2011 provoked protests by
local residents and led to a climate of conict within the village. Local residents desperately
complained about the loss and privatisation of mangrove forests, a common property used
for collecting crabs, shells, honey and re wood, with the acknowledgement of and support
from the village head.
Most of the residents of Kuala Karang are shermen. Due to coastal abrasion, in this area
obviously mainly a natural process, and salt water intrusion, farming is not possible anymo-
re. Based on memories from their childhood or information from their parents, residents
recounted that in the 1950-60s villagers still cultivated coconuts, vegetables and rice around
Kuala Karang. Conforming to the information received from the residents, a topographical
map from 1973 depicts agricultural land use in the area of Kuala Karang. Due to coastal
abrasion and salt water intrusion, rice cultivation had to be gradually abandoned, and hence
most residents turned to shing in the 1970s. In the 1980s, the coconut trees also disap-
peared, and since then, mangroves, which previously only grew along the water channels,
111
CONTESTED AQUACULTURE DEVELOPMENT, WEST KALIMANTAN
have colonised the entire area around the village. According to the village head, these man-
grove areas were declared protected forest in 2002. However, the villagers could continue
using resources from the mangrove forests. Most of them depend on coastal sheries and
the mangrove forests to a great extent. “e water is very rich in nutrients and shermen
do not have to go out far to catch a lot of sh. But the shermen depend on the monsoon
climate and cannot go out during stormy weather. During that time mainly the women are
collecting crabs and shells from the mangrove forests. (Member of a students’ association,
Tanjungpura University, 2012-03-23). Some families are not engaged in shing and com-
pletely depend on mangrove resources.
After the conversion of 127 ha of mangrove forests into brackish aquaculture ponds, a
conict within the village emerged between residents on the one hand and the aquaculture
pond owners with their supporters on the other hand. While the sea continuously advances
towards the village from the west, eroding about 3-5 m of land every year, establishment of
brackish aquaculture has deprived the villagers of some of their mangrove resources north and
south of the village (Figure 13). e village head pointed out that the remaining mangrove
area was still large enough for gathering crabs and mussels, but a village resident explained
that the mangrove areas converted into aquaculture ponds had been the best sites. Further-
more, some residents noted that the establishment of the ponds had accelerated salt water
Fig.13: Protected mangrove forests that had been used by local residents for collecting crabs,
shells, honey and re wood have been privatised and converted into aquaculture ponds by non-
local investors with support from the village head (M.C. Lukas, 2012)
112 karstens & lukas
intrusion into an area inland of the ponds, which had been the only area where freshwater
had still been available.
With support from the village head, the ve aquaculture ponds were set up by four investors
who live near Pontianak. Barely any local residents benet from the development. Once the
mangrove forest was cleared and the ponds established, labour requirements for the manage-
ment of the ponds are minimal. Protesting against the sale of their resources, a large group
of residents plundered the aquaculture ponds. Since then the aquaculture pond owners have
employed security personal – people from Pontianak and from Java – who are guarding the
ponds on a permanent basis (Figure 14). At the time of harvest, state police forces are present.
Pointing to power structures, a resident noted that it was dicult to openly speak about the
conict. Residents staged a protest in front of the oce of the district head (Bupati) in Kubu
Raya. ey hoped that no ex-post legalisation would be granted for the ponds.
e village head, who does not depend on coastal resources but who owns a swallow bird
house and was said to be involved in gambling and the local lottery, shared a very dierent
perspective regarding the aquaculture ponds. He explained that the investments from outside
should serve as an example for the local residents. Realizing the potential of aquaculture,
local residents could then follow the example on a smaller scale. e village head also noted
that the economic situation of the local residents was not bad, and that incomes from sh-
ing were fairly high with daily net-revenues of Rp. 70,000-80,000 (€ 5.88-6.72) on average
days and Rp. 300,000 (€ 25.19) on good days, but that education, the lack of management
Fig.14: Guard-house: The aquaculture pond operators employ security personal and deploy the
police at the time of harvest to prevent local residents from protesting against the disappropriation
of their resources by plundering (M.C. Lukas, 2012)
113
CONTESTED AQUACULTURE DEVELOPMENT, WEST KALIMANTAN
skills, and ideas what to do with the money were the major constraints. Whether many local
residents of Kuala Karang will follow the example and set up their own aquaculture ponds,
whether more investors from Pontianak and elsewhere will convert further mangrove areas
around Kuala Karang into brackish aquaculture or whether residents of Kuala Karang will,
in whatever way, hinder aquaculture production and further investments, remains to be seen.
9 CONCLUSION
Substantial portions of the social-ecological landscape of the Kapuas estuary region have been
transformed by rapid aquaculture development during the past 14 years. e conversion of
to date about 1,800 ha of legally protected mangrove forest has been driven by less than 200
mainly non-local aquaculture operators and a few village heads and state representatives and
has been supported by the sheries authorities. Bonded by entrepreneurial interests, corrup-
tion, power, and political goals for aquaculture development, this inuential ‘aquaculture
alliance’ has struggled against the forest authorities’ mangrove conservation goals and for an
ex-post legalisation of the fait accompli. Related eorts to revise spatial plans and a lawsuit
led by the forest authorities have not come to any conclusion for years, but during this
period, the brackish aquaculture area has been further expanded at the cost of mangroves
that are legally protected and that had been used by local residents. While non-local investors
and a few local elites benet from the aquaculture development, which barely provides any
job opportunities, the majority of the local residents who depend on capture sheries and
resources from the mangroves are deprived of some of their resources.
e results of our combined analysis of the spatial and temporal dynamics of environmental
transformations, the roles of dierent actors, related political struggles, and social conicts
on the ground represent a strong, albeit only case study-based, plea against generalised,
misleading notions of population pressure as driver of mangrove conversion. In the Kapuas
estuary, and this is certainly not a special case, it is rather the other way around: Mangrove
conversion through aquaculture development benets non-local actors and puts additional
pressures on local populations and natural resources. Our ndings also expose the sheries
authorities’ arguments that the aquaculture development is allegedly mainly driven by, imple-
mented in collaboration with and for the benet of local residents and that aquaculture was ne-
cessary to promote economic development, to compensate declining coastal sheries and to provide
alternative livelihoods as strategic political narratives that are in fact completely wrong. If
the loss of mangrove forests is justied by the need for economic development, the central
question to be asked is: Whose economic development? Whose economic necessities?
e social-political pattern of aquaculture development in the Kapuas estuary region has
both created and reects a sharp disparity and imbalance of power between beneciaries and
114 karstens & lukas
those aected by negative impacts, between a minority comprising investors from outside,
local leaders and representatives from government and the majority of the local residents. In
case of rebellion, as the situation of Kuala Karang demonstrates, networks of power, linking
investors, village heads, police and security personal, help to restore or maintain entrenched
social order (cf. Lukas 2013). Aquaculture development creates new social constellations
and conicts which are crucial to investigate, but its analysis also provides insight into
broader socio-political structures and overall modes of governance. In the context of the
analysed actor constellations and conicts, it does not appear surprising that the sheries
authorities view the following aspects as major constraints for a successful development of
Kubu Rayas coastal zone: lack of control (oces, sta and speed boats), lack of knowledge in
the communities how to preserve natural resources, and abrasion due to natural disasters or
illegal logging by community members (Dinas Kelautan dan Perikanan Kalimantan Barat
2011). One-sided blaming of uneducated local residents’ resource uses for environmental
issues while supporting the conversion of 1,800 ha of protected mangrove forests by out-
siders reects the social order and the entanglement of political power, economic interests
and problematic informal networks with ‘environmental governance’.
Knowledge and quantication of the numerous ecosystem services of mangroves, par-
ticularly their linkages with coastal sheries and their inuence on sedimentation and
abrasion processes, could undoubtedly support better informed decisions. However, more
importantly, a knowledge-based consideration and optimisation of the various options of
mangrove protection, utilisation and conversion requires a less corrupt political arena with
key actors taking into account factors beyond personal and short-term gains, with stronger
institutions limiting the pervasive roles of informal networks of power, and a breaking up
of entrenched hierarchical patterns of repression and marginalisation.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
e authors wish to thank Lenny Renshaw and Andreas Ricardo for their support during
the eld work, their valuable comments and the productive exchange of knowledge. anks
also to the members of the research project Julia, Irendra Radjawali, Michael Flitner, and
Oliver Pye. anks to Jill Heyde and Michael Flitner for their comments on the manuscript.
e research has been conducted in the frame of the research project ‘Stadt, Land, Fluss:
Eine Politische Ökologie des Sungai Kapuas, Kalimantan, Indonesien’ (‘Connecting the
urban and the rural: A political ecology of the Kapuas River, Kalimantan, Indonesia’),
which is funded by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), Grant No. FL 392/3-1.
Part of this work was funded by a student scholarship of the German Academic Exchange
Service (DAAD).
115
CONTESTED AQUACULTURE DEVELOPMENT, WEST KALIMANTAN
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CONTESTED AQUACULTURE DEVELOPMENT, WEST KALIMANTAN
Anschriften der Autoren:
Dipl. Geogr. Svenja Karstens
Universität Rostock
Landschaftsökologie und Standortkunde
Justus-von-Liebig-Weg 6
D-18059 Rostock
svenja.karstens@uni-rostock.de
Dipl. Geogr. Martin C. Lukas
Universität Bremen
Forschungszentrum Nachhaltigkeit
Enrique-Schmidt-Straße 7
D-28359 Bremen
martin.lukas@uni-bremen.de
... For example, most of the earliest maps of Indonesia are sea charts, only depicting coastlines. Hence, particularly for analysing coastal dynamics, historical maps provide large potential, as a number of studies demonstrate (Crowell et al., 1991;Jabaloy-Sánchez et al., 2010;Levin, 2006;Lukas, 2014;2015a;Marfai et al., 2008;Monmonier, 2008). Yet, most of this potential remains unused to date. ...
... It remains hidden in archives and the realm of historical cartographers, who engage with the material, its accuracy and its makers, but without using it for analysing environmental changes. However, the knowledge compiled by historical cartographers supports historical-cartographic reconstructions of environmental change and helps to approach methodological challenges related to the varying reliability of historical maps (Lukas, 2014(Lukas, , 2015a. Depending on their accuracy and on the magnitudes of environmental change, some maps can be analysed quantitatively in combination with more recent satellite images, whereas earlier, less accurate maps might be suitable for qualitative analyses only (ibid.). ...
... Yet, in some areas, including the island of Java, simplistic assumptions, focussing on demographic factors while neglecting many others, still dominate political debates. In such contexts, research that links (1) area-wide analyses of land use change through remote sensing and mapping with (2) social-scientific case studies, comprising interviews, focus groups and transect walks to explore the drivers of these changes, and (3) social-scientific, political ecologyinfused inquiry into related governance approaches through interviews on all political levels provides new insight -not only into the dynamics and drivers of social-ecological dynamics, but also into their political construction (Karstens & Lukas, 2014;Lukas, 2014Lukas, , 2015b. The latter refers to the discursive framing of environmental matters in line with the political interests of particular actors. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The emerging concept of the Anthropocene era in which human activities modify various environmental properties, has direct implications for coastal and marine research. Anthropogenic chemical (e.g. metals, persistent organic pollutants, and emerging contaminants), physical (e.g. microplastics, sediment loads, temperature), and biological (e.g. invasive species) stressors increasingly affect marine and coastal aquatic systems, pushing these environments to a new equilibrium state. This article addresses coastal and marine pollution in a broad context. Examples of representative baseline changes related to human activity and with deleterious environmental effects are reviewed here. The main goal is to highlight that human influence is pervasive in coastal aquatic and marine systems, and therefore increase awareness of marine researchers that the understanding of the difference between natural and anthropogenic controls is essential to better quantify impacts and elaborate mitigation actions.
... For example, most of the earliest maps of Indonesia are sea charts, only depicting coastlines. Hence, particularly for analysing coastal dynamics, historical maps provide large potential, as a number of studies demonstrate (Crowell et al., 1991;Jabaloy-Sánchez et al., 2010;Levin, 2006;Lukas, 2014;2015a;Marfai et al., 2008;Monmonier, 2008). Yet, most of this potential remains unused to date. ...
... It remains hidden in archives and the realm of historical cartographers, who engage with the material, its accuracy and its makers, but without using it for analysing environmental changes. However, the knowledge compiled by historical cartographers supports historical-cartographic reconstructions of environmental change and helps to approach methodological challenges related to the varying reliability of historical maps (Lukas, 2014(Lukas, , 2015a. Depending on their accuracy and on the magnitudes of environmental change, some maps can be analysed quantitatively in combination with more recent satellite images, whereas earlier, less accurate maps might be suitable for qualitative analyses only (ibid.). ...
... Yet, in some areas, including the island of Java, simplistic assumptions, focussing on demographic factors while neglecting many others, still dominate political debates. In such contexts, research that links (1) area-wide analyses of land use change through remote sensing and mapping with (2) social-scientific case studies, comprising interviews, focus groups and transect walks to explore the drivers of these changes, and (3) social-scientific, political ecologyinfused inquiry into related governance approaches through interviews on all political levels provides new insight -not only into the dynamics and drivers of social-ecological dynamics, but also into their political construction (Karstens & Lukas, 2014;Lukas, 2014Lukas, , 2015b. The latter refers to the discursive framing of environmental matters in line with the political interests of particular actors. ...
... Efforts at managing coastal wetlands, and mangroves in particular, to sustain their ecological values are confounded by the interrelated challenges of overlapping or unclear jurisdictional responsibilities and multiple interests (Adger & Luttrell, 2000;Karstens & Lukas, 2014;Van 13 Lee et al. (2014) discuss the development of the scientific literature from the 1940s to the present day with respect to the idea of mangroves as lateral "land builders." They conclude that, "the early view of mangroves as land builders, especially in reference to lateral expansion, was not based on solid evidence and is not generally applicable to all settings" (p.732). ...
... Kalimantan (Baten, 2009;Powell & Osbeck, 2010;Safitri, 2013;Sidik, 2010), Central Sulawesi (Armitage, 2002), and West Kalimantan (Karstens & Lukas, 2014). Each case is marked by the transformation of mangrove areas under de jure state authority and described as either ...
Article
Full-text available
The dissertation examines change and complexity in evolving systems of environmental governance in Indonesia, and explores interactions with resource tenure. The aim is to better understand how and why different actors have negotiated and contested resource tenure under conditions of changing environmental governance. The dissertation elaborates a notion of dynamic hybridity in environmental governance and resource tenure systems. The dissertation draws on three empirical case studies and focuses mainly on the period from the late 1990s through to 2015. The cases were geographically disbursed and covered the loosely categorized ideal states of state-led management, community-based management, and payments for environmental services. The findings show how different analytical and theoretical perspectives - for example, a more nuanced focus on trust between actors, considering ideational changes as captured in the changing values of resources, and the "bundle of rights approach" to understanding property rights - can explicitly encourage a temporal (dynamic) perspective in analyzing changes in resource tenure and environmental governance.
... However, Kalimantan is the region of Indonesia for which the highest mangrove loss is forecasted for the next two decades mainly due to conversion into aquaculture ponds, followed by plantations (Ilman et al., 2016). The construction of aquaculture facilities is considered the main reason for the loss of mangrove areas on the east and west coast of Kalimantan (Karstens and Lukas, 2014;Richards and Friess, 2016); palm oil plantations replace mangroves on the west and south coast (Richards and Friess, 2016). Conservation efforts have remained minimal, and only a few mangrove areas are included in protected areas. ...
Chapter
Indonesian mangrove forests are of major local and global importance for ecological and economic reasons. Indonesia has both the largest area of mangrove forests and the highest mangrove deforestation rate by country. Using the mangrove-fringed Segara Anakan Lagoon on Java as a prime example, this chapter explains the ecosystem services provided by mangrove-dominated coastal ecosystems, as well as the threats to it. Related governance approaches and interventions are discussed, while special emphasis is given to water quality, “Blue Carbon” storage, biodiversity, natural resource use, land use change, and the underlying political and societal dynamics. While ecosystem service supply is strongly impaired in the Segara Anakan Lagoon, mainly because of deforestation and high sediment deposition related to land use change, mangrove ecosystems in other areas appear to be in a better state. Finally, directions of future research and recommendations for policy and society are given. Abstrak Hutan bakau Indonesia sangat penting secara lokal dan global karena memiliki nilai ekologis dan ekonomis. Indonesia merupakan negara dengan wilayah hutan bakau terluas, namun laju deforestasi hutan bakaunya tertinggi. Menggunakan Laguna Segara Anakan yang bertipe hutan bakau tepian pulau di Jawa sebagai contoh utama, bab ini membahas tentang jasa ekosistem yang diberikan oleh ekosistem pesisir yang didominasi hutan bakau maupun ancaman terhadap jasa ekosistem tersebut. Pembahasan meliputi pendekatan dan intervensi tata kelola yang terkait, sedangkan penekanan khususnya adalah pada kualitas air, cadangan karbon pada ekosistem pesisir dan laut ( ‘Blue Carbon’ storage), keanekaragaman hayati, pemanfaatan sumber daya alam, perubahan penggunaan lahan, dan dinamika sosial politik yang mendasarinya. Meskipun pasokan jasa ekosistem di Laguna Segaran Anakan sangat buruk, terutama karena deforestasi dan tingginya sedimentasi terkait dengan perubahan penggunaan lahan, ekosistem bakau di daerah lain kondisinya lebih baik. Di bagian akhir bab ini disajikan arah penelitian kedepan dan rekomendasi untuk kebijakan dan masyarakat.
... The light blue coloured patches amid the mangrove forest are the bare patches with salt encrustation (c).delta, the mangrove loss under this category was comparatively higher at 2,450 ha during 1977-2013 at a rate of 67 ha yr −1 including 565 ha (23%) under salt encrustation. Progressive increase in mangrove loss by salt encrustation is perhaps a consequence of manifold decrease in water discharges and sediment loads through the Krishna and Godavari rivers due to impounding of water at the burgeoning dams in the respective drainage basins (NageswaraRao et al. 2010), depriving the estuarine regions of the freshwater inputs and nutrients.Mangrove degradation for aquaculture Encroachment for aquaculture is one of the major causes of mangrove destruction in recent decades in many countries (e.g.Thu and Populus 2007;Stuart 2013;Karstens and Lukas 2014). ...
Article
Comparative analysis of time series satellite images spread over the past four decades indicated significant changes in the mangrove environment of the Krishna-Godavari twin deltas along the east coast of India. Our visual analysis of Landsat-MSS, TM and ETM images from 1977, 1990, and 2000, respectively, and Indian Remote Sensing Satellite images from 1992, 2001, and 2013 indicated that the mangrove cover in the region increased from approximately 35,058 ha in 1977 to 39,283 ha by 2013. In spite of an approximate loss of mangrove vegetation over 8,036 ha due to coastal erosion, deforestation, decline and aquaculture encroachments, several mangrove-restoration projects taken up during 1991-2008 led to an overall increase in its area. Various mangrove eco-reforestation techniques were adopted in the region.
... Lagoons and their adjacent wetlands make up more than 13% of the coastal shoreline worldwide (Kjerfve, 1994). These systems are dynamic and capable of providing various ecosystem services, such as nutrient regulation, nesting area for birds, and recreation areas (Duarte et al., 2013;Karstens and Lukas, 2014;Reddy et al., 1999). In particular, the impact on nutrient regulation constitutes an important ecosystem service. ...
Article
Full-text available
The main pathways for phosphorus flux from land to sea are particle-associated (erosion) and dissolved runoff (rivers, groundwater, and agricultural drainage systems). These pathways can act as diffused sources for aquatic systems and support primary production, therefore, counteracting the efforts aimed at reducing phosphorus input from point sources such as sewage treatment plants. Phosphorus supports primary production in the water column and can elevate phytoplankton and macrophyte growth. Coastal wetlands with emerged (Phragmites australis) and submerged (Stuckenia pectinata and Chara sp.) macrophytes can affect phosphorus fluxes in the land-water transitional zone. The macrophytes have the potential to act as a buffer for phosphorus run-off. The aim of this study was to determine the phosphorus stocks in the transitional land-sea zone of a cold temperate lagoon at the southern Baltic Sea. Phosphorus in macrophytes, water samples, and phytoplankton growth were analyzed along a gradient moving away from the wetland. The phosphorus stocks in the above ground biomass of the Phragmites plants were the highest at the end of August and with more than 8000 mg P m− 2 in the interior zone of the wetland, threefold the amount of P in Phragmites plant tissue at the wetland fringe. The submerged macrophytes stored only 300 mg P m− 2, close to the wetland. Concentrations of soluble reactive phosphorus in the water column were higher in the zones of emerged macrophytes than in the zones of submerged macrophytes and decreased along the land-sea transect. Phytoplankton could grow proximal to the wetland during all seasons, but not further away. This study indicates that macrophytes can act as phosphorus sinks. However, short-term releases of phosphate within the Phragmites wetland have the potential to lead to phytoplankton growth. Phytoplankton can use these nutrient pulses either immediately or later, and support high biomass and turbidity within the system.
... Coastal wetlands are open structures with strong interactions along the land-water interface, linking terrestrial with marine ecosystems (Andreu et al., 2016), and represent ecotones in the core sense of the term. Coastal wetlands can provide a variety of ecosystem services that are fundamental for physical processes and biogeochemical cycling including sediment retention and protection against coastal erosion, habitats for fish or birds, raw material provisioning, pollutant buffering and nutrient regulation (Duarte et al., 2013;Karstens and Lukas, 2014;Perillo et al., 2009;Reddy et al., 1999). The relative importance of these services for humans often depends on management decisions and the specific location of a coastal wetland. ...
... 1. Brackish shrimp ponds depicted by (Karstens and Lukas 2014) are well represented in the data. This provides some evidence that we may be getting to landuse (what is in the ponds) as opposed to just landcover. ...
Research
Full-text available
Between 2000 and 2012, Indonesia lost 3.11% of its mangrove forest area (Hamilton and Casey 2014). This is substantially higher than the 1.97% global average. This is problematic as Indonesia contains approximately 28% of the world’s mangrove forest. To put this in perspective, Indonesia’s 21st Century mangrove loss is more mangrove forest than actually exists in all but 20 of the top 100 mangrove-holding nations. Mangrove loss in Indonesia is responsible for just under half of all global mangrove deforestation that has occurred in the 21st Century. Earlier research indicates aquaculture, agriculture, and urbanization as reasons for mangrove losses in Indonesia pre-2000, but post-2000 the reasons for the continued mangrove loss remained opaque until this study.
Article
Full-text available
Land degradation has been a major political issue in Java for decades. Its causes have generally been framed by narratives focussing on farmers’ unsustainable cultivation practices. This paper causally links land degradation with struggles over natural resources in Central Java. It presents a case study that was part of a research project combining remote sensing and political ecology to explore land use/cover change and its drivers in the catchment of the Segara Anakan lagoon. Historically rooted land conflicts have turned the land into a political battlefield, with soil erosion being the direct outcome of the political struggles. Starting from an analysis of environmental changes using satellite images and historical maps, the research explored a history of violent displacements in the frame of a series of brutal insurgencies and counterinsurgencies in the 1950/60s. In these struggles over national political power, entire villages were erased, and peasants’ land was appropriated by the state. This political history is ‘inscribed’ in today’s landscape. The contested land comprises some of the most erosion-prone sites in the entire catchment of the lagoon. The landscape of erosion is a landscape of conflict and a symbol of historical violence and injustice. In line with our research in other parts of the catchment, the case study presented here challenges dominant political discourses about the nature of upland degradation in Java. It provides insight into still unresolved and underexplored chapters of Indonesian history and presents a strong plea for combining land use change science and (historical) political ecology.
Book
Environmental issues have become increasingly prominent in local struggles, national debates, and international policies. In response, scholars are paying more attention to conventional politics and to more broadly defined relations of power and difference in the interactions between human groups and their biophysical environments. Such issues are at the heart of the relatively new interdisciplinary field of political ecology, forged at the intersection of political economy and cultural ecology. This volume provides a toolkit of vital concepts and a set of research models and analytic frameworks for researchers at all levels. The two opening chapters trace rich traditions of thought and practice that inform current approaches to political ecology. They point to the entangled relationship between humans, politics, economies, and environments at the dawn of the twenty-first century and address challenges that scholars face in navigating the blurring boundaries among relevant fields of enquiry. The twelve case studies that follow demonstrate ways that culture and politics serve to mediate human-environmental relationships in specific ecological and geographical contexts. Taken together, they describe uses of and conflicts over resources including land, water, soil, trees, biodiversity, money, knowledge, and information; they exemplify wide-ranging ecological settings including deserts, coasts, rainforests, high mountains, and modern cities; and they explore sites located around the world, from Canada to Tonga and cyberspace. © 2005 by Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. All rights reserved.