THE ECONOMIC IMPACTS OF REHABILITATION OF SELABAT MUDFLATS NATURE RESERVE, KUCHING, SARAWAK
Journal: Malaysian Journal of Geosciences (MJG)
Author: Mukrimah Abdullah, Mohd Parid Mamat, Abang Ahmad Abang Morni, Thanlany Kamri, Lim Hin Fui
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License CC BY 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited
Coastal erosion is a concern to coastline management, and it affects the socio-economic well-being of local communities. The rehabilitation of Selabat Mudflats Nature Reserve (SMNR) in Sarawak is one of the most impressive achievements of the “Mangrove and Suitable Tree Species Planting at the National Coastline Program” implemented by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (NRE). The rehabilitation efforts began in 2009, where 20 hectares of Rhizophora mucronata were planted and followed by an additional 1.7 hectares of Casuarina equisetifolia. Previously, this area was a sandy coastline where coastal erosion occurred every year causing local loss of land and properties. However, through conservation and rehabilitation efforts, this area was restored and is now able to generate more income for local communities as well as playing a protective role against coastal erosion caused by coastal waves and strong winds. In 2016, this study was conducted to assess the economic impacts of SMNR rehabilitation. The findings from a sample of 42 households showed that the income generated for local communities around SMNR amounted to RM250, 320 per month or RM3, 003,840 per year. A non-user survey of 401 samples was also conducted, using Contingent Valuation Method to estimate the economic value of SMNR rehabilitation. The result showed the economic value of rehabilitation of SMNR was RM39 million for the year 2016 or RM195, 980 per hectare. These findings showed that the function of rehabilitation and conservation of mangroves forests against coastal erosion brings positive economic impacts. Rehabilitation and conservation of mangrove areas in Malaysia should be given more attention as global warming and rising sea level are going to have negative impacts on coastal settlements. Wise decision-making in the utilisation and allocation of limited resources is important particularly in the context of conflict between conservation and other development that led to its destruction.