Straight to content

Indonesia plans nature-based approach to restore coasts in Java and Bali

Published on:
  • Coastal resilience
  • Coastal wetland conservation
  • Integrated delta management

Indonesia plans to restore the eroding areas of its coastline in Java and Bali with nature based approaches inspired on Dutch methods. Also other vulnerable coasts in Indonesia will be looked at. The Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF), environmental organisation Wetlands International and research institute Deltares last week Friday formally agreed to collaborate in the effort to tackle the erosion problems of Indonesian coasts.

The technical exchange visit by Indonesia to the Netherlands was to learn about the Dutch approaches to integrated coastal management. The visit focused in particular on how the Netherlands apply nature-based techniques for flood prevention, the so-called Building with Nature approach.

Mr. Eko Rudianto, Director of the Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries:“We are looking for alternative ways to solve coastal erosion problems in Indonesia and we are eager to collaborate with the Netherlands in Building with Nature approaches”.

Permeable dams in Bemak district, Java. Image by Nanang Sujana.


Along the coast of Java, Indonesia plans to reclaim eroded land by trapping sediment by means of permeable dams, so that its mangrove belts can recolonise and help protect the coastline against erosion after which Indonesia can work on sustainable coastal management. This technique is inspired by a method used by the Dutch for over a century to reclaim land by enhancing salt-marsh formation.

In Java the coastline is retreating rapidly with tens of meters, and in extreme cases, more than a hundred meters per year, as a result of mangrove deforestation and land subsidence. This has major implications for Indonesia’s coastal safety, economy, ecosystems and fisheries.

The Sand Engine, Kuikduin, the Netherlands, 2011. Photo by Joop van Houdt, Rijkswaterstaat.

Kuta Beach, Bali

In Bali, construction of the airport in the sea was followed by erosion of Kuta beach, a popular tourist destination and a surfing hotspot. Indonesia is interested to restore and protect this beach by mimicking an innovative method also applied in the Netherlands called the Sand Engine. The Sand Engine is a huge volume of sand that has been applied along the West coast of the Netherlands. Nature, namely wind, waves and currents further spread the sand along the coast and make the coast broader and safer.

Kuta Beach bali, source: 2014

The Indonesian Ministry is already, with support from Deltares and Wetlands International, implementing a pilot project in Demak District at the North coast of Java where the sea has already swallowed hundreds of meters of land. The approach using permeable dams seems promising as the waves inside the grid are lower, the mud is building up steadily and mangrove seedlings are already re-appearing.

More information

For more information please contact Wetlands International,
tel: +31 318660957, email: [email protected].
Download pictures of the Dutch Sand Motor, and pictures and videos of the pilot project in Java.

Video of the pilot project

View the video of the pilot project in Demak District, including en interview with Femke Tonneijck, Wetlands International, explaining the pilot project to restore the coast in Damak district, Java. Video by Nanang Sujana.

View on Youtube.

Opens in a new window