Man spends 20 years saving his community from catastrophe by restoring mangroves

It’s a boardwalk winding through a dense forest of mangroves along the coast of Tongke-Tongke, in South Sulawesi, Indonesia.

Teenagers in this town of roughly 3,000 people take selfies with the dense leafy canopy as a backdrop, while families stroll along the boardwalk.

None of this may have been here if it weren’t for Hidayat Palaloi.

Before, this area was not like this, it was just empty land, coastline and a beach,” says Palaloi, the head of a mid-sized conservation nonprofit based in Makassar, Indonesia, called the Indonesian Self Growth Foundation.

The erosion was constant,” Palaloi says. “People say some houses on the coastline disappeared and people had to move inland.

Now, there are miles of mangroves that protect the village here. That’s partly thanks to Palaloi, who’s been helping towns like Tongke-Tongke plant mangroves on the island of Sulawesi for more than two decades.

Photo credit: Carolyn Beeler

See full PRI article by Carolyn Beeler.

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