It is always fascinating to know that someone who lives far away in a different part of the globe managed to read the TJF publication. This made the Scripps community invite TJF and Blue Forests to present their research at the Ecology Webinar in the University of California. The presentation discussed the Coastal Field School (CFS) contribution to enable the mangrove ecosystem and aquaculture farmers to thrive. The farmers have been living in the coastal suboptimal land areas for generations. They are in the forefront of the climate crisis and the rising sea surface.

Mangrove ecosystem is essential to address this challenge. Indonesia is home to more than 20% of the world’s mangrove forest. The vast ecosystem reserves one third of global coastal carbon stocks. However, it faces an unprecedented threat from aquaculture sector’s extensive development that drives aggressive mangrove conversion into ponds as happened in Pangkep, South Sulawesi Province and Demak, Central Java Province. The coastal communities who largely engaged in small-scale aquaculture become highly vulnerable to the rising seawater level along with risk of losing their livelihoods.

We highlighted the empowerment program that has created a positive impact on farmers communities in both regions using an approach called CFS. It is found that CFS has increased the participants’ knowledge and skill, and changed their behaviour in pond management to a more ecologically sound way. Moreover, the CFS alumni also reported that they can improve their pond productivity, while reducing production cost since they have learned to produce the farm inputs using local organic resources.