JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia aims to restore 150,000 hectares of degraded mangroves this year, after rehabilitating about a quarter of this total last year when funds had to be diverted from the state budget to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, officials said.
The Southeast Asian nation, which has huge tracts of mangroves, launched a programme last year to restore 600,000 hectares (1.5 million acres) of degraded mangrove by 2024 to help absorb carbon emissions.
"Some studies have shown that mangrove forests can absorb four to five times more carbon emissions than landed tropical forests," Environment and forestry minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar told a briefing.
Southeast Asia's largest economy, which is also the world's largest archipelago country, aims to reach carbon neutrality by 2060 or sooner.
Last year, 34,911 hectares were restored at a cost of 690 billion rupiah ($48.07 million), but for 2022 the allocated budget should rise to 3.2 trillion rupiah, said Hartono, head of Peatland and mangrove restoration agency, speaking at the same briefing.
The environment and forestry ministry is drafting up a regulation to open mangrove restoration for investors to help fund the programme.
($1 = 14,355.0000 rupiah)
(Reporting by Bernadette Christina; Editing by Ed Davies)