Why Are Mangroves So Important To Raja Ampat

The Well-Rooted Mangroves of Indonesia

Watching the sunset from the peaceful mangrove lounge at Meridian Dive Resort you are surrounded by towering mangrove trees full of birds, the shallow water at their base is home to many crabs and small fish and even the occasional eel.

Newly planted mangroves are starting to sprout along the walkway to the lounge that is built between these impressive trees. Trees that are the most important in the entire ecosystem of the Raja Ampat Islands. It is no wonder that it is illegal to remove these trees and with great admiration for the design of the lounge you come to appreciate the design that rather than relying on removing the trees has found a way to incorporate their unique branch growth to allow guests to be surrounded by them.

Why Are Mangroves so Important to Raja Ampat

Why exactly are Mangroves so important to the area of Raja Ampat?

Mangrove forest are found in abundance in the region. Most of the 1500 small island of the region have coastlines that are lined with mangroves growing in the shallow waters and stretching far behind.

Raja Ampat is well known as being the most biodiverse marine ecosystem in the world. The mangrove forests that are found near these diverse reef systems are home to large numbers of marine species who hunt and seek shelter in the root systems and shallow waters that surround.

These species include many crustaceans, molluscs, and many juvenile fish such as barracuda who are protected in the roots until they are old enough to venture into deeper waters. In some of the more remote parts of Raja Ampat it is even possible to spot saltwater crocodiles hiding out in the mangrove rivers and bays. All these species hang out in the nutrient rich waters of the mangroves. An ecosystem in its own, falling leaves decay in the shallow waters that provide nutrients to small organisms that in turn feed the larger species that come to hunt in these waters.

Why Are Mangroves so Important to Raja Ampat

It is because of the vast number of mangroves in the area that the Dampier Strait that runs through Raja Ampat is such a nutrient rich body of water. The currents that run through this strait circulate the rich nutrients from the mangrove forests to all parts of the region where the tropical climate further stimulates the growth of micro-organisms in the water. It is because of these nutrients that Raja Ampat is home to over 1500 known species of coral and 700 species of marine animals.


While these mangroves serve to enrich the waters, they also are vital to maintaining the water quality of the water in the area. The dense network of roots serve as a filter system for sediment and other run off that originates in the higher branches of the water cycle in the lush tropical forests of the region.