Building with Nature in Indonesia


Demak, a low-lying coastal community in Java, has been plagued by erosion, flooding and land loss caused by subsidence and the felling of a nearby protective belt of mangroves.

Rather than replanting mangrove trees, this innovative UN flagship has built fence-like structures with natural materials along the shore to calm waves and trap sediment, creating conditions for mangroves to rebound naturally. 

In return for letting mangroves regenerate, farmers have been schooled in sustainable techniques that have increased their shrimp production. With mangroves providing habitat for a host of marine organisms, fishers have also seen their near-shore catches improve.


The initiative in numbers
119 Hectares restored
1,150 Hectares to be restored by 2030
55,000,000 USD in funding needed
“The region of Demak is badly affected by climate change. Hundreds and thousands of hectares of land are disappearing. This method emulates the mangrove tree root system. So, sediment goes in. Sea water gradually recedes to the sea. When the mangrove trees are rooted there collectively, it’ll act as a natural barrier to reduce the effect of erosion.”
Muhammad Yusuf, Director of Coastal and Small Island Management, Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs

Leading organizations

This World Restoration Flagship is coordinated by the Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries and the Indonesian Ministry of Public Work and HousingWetlands International and Ecoshape with support from Witteveen + BosDeltaresTU DelftWageningen University & ResearchUNESCO-IHEBlue ForestsKota KitaVon Liebermanthe Diponegoro University, and local communities. The initiative is financially supported by: The Dutch Sustainable Water Fund on behalf of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) as part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI), the Dutch Postcode Lottery.