Cities in Action: Mangroves and Monkeys in Tarakan’s City Center

The island of Tarakan, in the region of Kalimantan in northern Borneo, is home to the Mangrove and Bekantan Conservation Area (KKMB) – the only mangrove forest located in the center of an Indonesian city. At the KKMB, there are 25 species of mangroves within the 9-hectare mangrove park, which is home to 45 rare proboscis monkeys and hundreds of black and grey monkeys, otters, and rare Bondol eagles, alongside a vast range of other flora and fauna.

Aside from serving as a bustling hub for biodiversity, the massive roots of mangroves make the city less vulnerable to disasters like tsunamis. In addition, the mangroves sequester sizable amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere. For these reasons, the local government has recently extended the conservation area to 22 hectares, thereby expanding Tarakan’s crucial green lung.

Lessons learned and replication

Laws and policies to protect the Mangrove and Bekantan Conservation Area from the exploitation of its natural resources have been established, but many have not been enforced. In recent years, the local government has worked hard to implement more stringent regulations to enhance the protection of the city’s green lung, including regulating the disposal of untreated industrial wastewater into the area, along with preservation-oriented policies including Spatial Planning (Law No. 26, 2009), Forestry (Law No. 41, 1999), Conservation (Law No. 32, 1990) and the Environment (Law No. 32, 2009).

For more information, please visit the City of Tarakan website.


Tarakan is an Urban-LEDS city. To learn more about the Urban-LEDS project, please visit the website.


Featured image © Shankar S. (Flickr)

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