The southern part of Denpasar is naturally protected by green belt of mangrove forest. Such a well maintained forest is open to visitors. While having a stroll, visitors can get additional knowledge on the use of these coastal plants with respect to the local ecosystem. Further details about the program can be obtained at the Mangrove Information Center located on Jalan Bypass Ngurah Rai, Suwung Kauh or between Kuta and Sanur.
The Mangrove forest extends across some 1,373.05 hectares of land, while the one intended for recreation is 200 hectares and managed by Ngurah Rai Grand Forest Park or Tahura. Its office lies in the middle of this area. For educational and conservational purposes, it has established nursery plots of approximately 7,700 square-meters, wooden trails, huts to rest and floating decks.
According to research on the distribution of mangrove species and availability of seed collecting forests on the islands of Bali and Lombok, in the mangrove forests was found: (1) 13 types of major mangrove in Benoa Bay including Rhizophora, Sonneratia, Bruguiera, Avicennia and Ceriops; (2) 9 types of minor mangrove such as Xylocarpus, Aegiceras and Heriliera; (3) 28 types of associated mangrove including Acanthus, Ipomea, Barringtonia and Clerodendoron; (4)62 types of bird; (5) 32 types of crustaceans; and (6) 10 types of reptile. These species appear in showcases at the mangrove center.
Condition of the mangrove forest has declined through the years because of alteration of its function as shown by layers of shrimp embankments, and the excessive falling of trees. Department of Indonesian Forestry took measures to improve the condition of the Suwung Kauh mangrove forest through the Development Project of Sustainable Mangrove Forest Management aided by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), resulting in a model sustainable management. Other results of the project are the issuance of the Guidebook on Planting and Seabed and a booklet on the mangroves in this country, and the rehabilitation of 253 hectares of mangrove forest.
Though action has been taken to improve the condition, the deterioration of mangroves has worsened as the efforts have not been sufficient. The budget has also been limited due to the economic crisis, which meant that the project was only continued from 15 May 2001 by means of informative action of clarification on sustainable mangrove forestry management.
The Mangrove Information Center Project had a support action to increase the awareness and actions by related parties projected to end on 14 May2004. There have been two main sub-programs and three supporting sub-programs, targeted at developing the training activities and realizing the training tests to formulate a training program and the execution of a range of surveys as well as case studies.
The sub-program consists of ecotourism towards the development of a mangrove park at the project site by establishing a visitors’ information center, museum, touch pool and trail, and conducting tour guide training with an aim to disseminate information useful to the general public. On the other hand, the environmental education subprogram aims to provide the public with the opportunity to gain experience and knowledge about the mangrove ecosystem through various activities.