Restoration of the Indonesian Mangrove

Living Labs

Restoration of the Indonesian Mangrove

This multi-year project will restore and protect mangroves in North Sumatra, as well as provide economic opportunities to local communities.

Project launch: 2017
Location: Sumatra, Indonesia
Objectives: Biodiversity conservation, fight against climate change, protection of coastlines and fight against rising sea levels, economic development for indigenous populations
Key activities: 1,000,000 trees planted by 2021-2022 / Awareness raising of local communities / Involvement of women / Training and capacity building
Main species planted: Bakau minyak (Rhizophora apiculata), Red mangrove (Rhizophora stylosa), Loop-root mangrove (Rhizophora mucronata)
Partners: Local communities, Reforest’Action, Yagasu


In 1987, there were 200,000 hectares of mangroves in North Sumatra. Today, less than half remains with just 83,000 hectares. This massive deforestation is mainly due to human pressure: the mangrove is converted into areas for intensive shrimp and fish breeding, and illegally cut down to make firewood or charcoal.

The mangrove of Sumatra is essential for local communities: its disappearance generates a saline seep which makes the coastal lands uncultivatable. Coastline protection from erosion and rising sea levels is also removed.


  • Action on the ground
    This multi-year Living Lab in Indonesia aims to restore and protect mangroves, raising awareness and educating the public about the environment. The project combines five different species of mangrove planting along the coasts of North Sumatra. Approximately 200,000 trees were planted in 2019-2020; 300,000 in 2020-2021 and 500,000 are planned during 2021-2022.
    Key activities and benefits of the mangrove restoration include: maintenance of the banks, retention of sediments, maintenance of fishing activities through biodiversity and participatory planting, the involvement of women, and awareness raising of local communities.
  • Restoring the mangrove
    Thanks to its aerial roots, the mangrove is the only tree capable of growing in salt water. Mangrove trees are planted by the sea to fight against shoreline erosion and to protect the surrounding villages from rising water levels. The trees also help to preserve the coastline biodiversity, on which the populations depend, especially for food through fishing.
    The young plants are produced from propagules in tree nurseries associated with the project. Propagules are long tubers that fall from the mangroves and are then harvested by local communities within the remaining mangroves.
  • Protecting coastal areas
    Trees are planted along the coast, in several villages located in the north of Sumatra island. Near the villages of Kuala Langsa, Lubuk Kertang and Sicanang, the planting of mangrove trees in coastal areas will gradually restore degraded soils and protect the coasts from erosion and rising water levels.
  • Integrating and training local communities
    To include and educate as many people as possible, Yagasu offers training workshops for local communities about the protection of mangroves and the fight against deforestation. By encouraging the development of economic sectors directly coming from the mangrove, the Living Lab works to ensure the sustainability of the Sumatran mangrove, simultaneously increasing the economic development of local populations.

Expected impacts

The project directly contributes to the achievement of 14 of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, which provide a roadmap to a better and more sustainable future.