BANGKA, Indonesia — For more than two decades Ardianto has walked to the coastal mangrove trees from his village in Indonesia’s Bangka Island at sunrise with a triangular net, searching for rebon shrimp. On returning home around 9 a.m. to his village of Batu Betumpang, Ardianto, commonly known as Lai Tin, and his wife begin pounding the catch of the day into a thick shrimp paste called belacan. “After this is crushed, it dries again tomorrow,” Ardianto told Mongabay. “Then it’s pulverized again — and that’s how we get belacan.” For centuries the mangrove trees around Bangka-Belitung province have provided food, medicine and more for the islands’ inhabitants. But the once-teeming ecosystem fringed around the two main islands, about halfway between Singapore and Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, is today at risk of extinction. Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelagic country, has more mangrove forests than anywhere else on Earth. But vast areas of these valuable forests have been uprooted to make way for aquaculture farms, oil palm plantations and other uses along the archipelago’s coasts. Bangka Island is also the source of about 90% of all the tin mined in Indonesia, the world’s second-largest producer of the metal, which is used mainly as solder in electronic devices. This has added to the pressure on Bangka’s endangered mangroves as people migrate to the islands to mine tin around coastal areas. There are an estimated 20,000 tin miners on the island and about 700 mining concessions. Data from the Indonesian Forum for the Environment…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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