Indonesia’s Natural Resources and Maritime Potential
Indonesia is well-known as a country that has abundant natural resource potential. Indonesia is also known as a maritime country with enormous potential for maritime wealth. This is because most of Indonesia’s territory is ocean. So besides being rich in natural resources on land, Indonesia also has a wealth of natural resources in the sea that is no less large.
Then what potential natural and maritime resources does Indonesia have? Where is this potential located? Why is Indonesia so rich in natural and maritime resource potential? The following is an explanation that will answer all these questions.
Potential of Indonesia’s Natural Resources
Natural resources are all materials, objects or anything that humans find in nature that can be used for the benefit of their lives (Kemdikbud Team, 2017, p. 23). The materials or objects in question can be in the form of inanimate objects or living things that are on earth such as animals and fish. Anything that can be utilized to meet the needs of human life.
The potential of Indonesia’s natural resources can be seen in various forms including water, soil, air, rocks, forests, minerals, and others. Yes, there are many forms of natural resources, so this presentation will be limited to a few examples of the most superior natural resources, namely in the form of forests and minerals.
Forest Resource Potential
Indonesia’s forests have enormous potential. In fact, the area alone reaches 99.6 million hectares or 52.3% of the total area of Indonesia (Ministry of Forestry, 2011). This large forest area can be found in Papua, Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Sumatra.
Meanwhile in Java, forest area has decreased a lot due to conversion of functions to agriculture and human settlements. Sumatra and Kalimantan are also currently experiencing the conversion of forests to agriculture and plantations.
Besides being wide, Indonesia’s forests also have very rich flora and fauna or biodiversity. Many of these are endemic species or can only be found in Indonesia, not found in other countries or places.
In Indonesia’s forests there are at least 4000 species of wood, 267 of which are wood with high economic value. In general, the types of wood and their distribution locations in Indonesia include the following types.
Keruing, Meranti, Agathis wood is produced mainly in Papua, Sulawesi and Kalimantan.
Teak wood is mostly produced in Central Java.
Rattan is mostly produced in Kalimantan, North Sumatra and West Sumatra.
Sandalwood is mostly produced in East Nusa Tenggara.
A large amount of Rasamala and Acacia wood is produced in West Java.
Forest products are actually not just wood. Indonesia’s tropical forests also produce a variety of fruit and medicinal plants.
Forest Benefits and Functions
It’s a shame that Indonesia’s forests have suffered a lot of damage. Based on data released by the Ministry of Forestry, the rate of destruction of our forests reaches 300,000 hectares per year.
As a result, many plant and animal species are threatened with extinction. Some of them are even considered extinct. In fact, forests have many benefits and functions of forests which include the following points.
Storing rainwater and then flowing it into rivers and lakes, so that during the dry season it does not experience drought.
A place to live for flora and fauna which are a source of food and medicine at present and in the future.
Prevent erosion or erosion because rainwater does not fall directly on the ground and erode fertile soils.
Producing oxygen and absorbing carbon dioxide, so that the earth’s temperature is under control.
The source of life for the community, especially for communities around the forest, from the products they produce (Kemdikbud Team, 2017, p. 26).
Potential Mining Resources
Indonesia is one of the countries in the world that is rich in minerals. A variety of mining materials are available to meet domestic and foreign needs. Mining activities have generated a lot of income or foreign exchange for Indonesia.
How big is the mining potential in Indonesia? Where are the types and locations of mining in Indonesia? The following is a map of the distribution of potential mining resources in Indonesia.
Oil and Gas
Oil and gas are mining resources which are still the main energy used for various industrial, transportation and household needs. Although gradually we have to switch to alternative energy such as bioenergy, solar panels, and wind, currently oil and gas still have great potential.
Indonesia’s oil reserves continue to decrease along with continued exploitation. This will not happen quickly if new reserves are found which are estimated to be large. Indonesia’s oil reserves are estimated to be quite large. The distribution of oil producers in a number of islands in Indonesia can be seen in the following table.
Name of the Island of the Petroleum Producing Region
Sumatra Pereula and Loukseumawe (Nangroe Aceh Darussalam), Pakning and Dumai Rivers (Riau), Plaju, Gerong River and Muara Enim (South Sumatra)
Java Teak Barang Majalengka (West Java), Wonokromo, Delta (East Java), Cepu, Cilacap (Central Java)
Kalimantan Tarakan Island, Balikpapan, Bunyu Island and Mahakam River (East Kalimantan), Rantau, Tanjung and Amuntai (South Kalimantan)
Maluku, Seram Island and Southeast
Papua Klamono, Sorong, and Babo
Coal is a sedimentary rock formed from the remains of plants that have died and settled for millions of years. The main constituents of coal are carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Coal is used as a source of energy for various purposes.
The energy produced by coal can be used for power generation, for household purposes (cooking), burning in the brick or tile industry, cement, limestone, iron and steel ore, chemical industry and others.
Indonesia’s coal reserves are only 0.5% of world reserves, but in terms of production, it is the 6th largest in the world with total production reaching 246 million tonnes. Coal can be found in a number of islands, namely Kalimantan and Sumatra.
The potential for coal on the two islands is very large, including:
Coal mining in Kalimantan is located in East Kalimantan (Berau and Samarinda River Valleys),
West Sumatra (Ombilin and Sawahlunto),
South Sumatra (Bukit Asam and Tanjung Enim).
Bauxite is the main ore used to make aluminum. Bauxite mining resources are also useful for the ceramic, metal, chemical and metallergy industries. Indonesia has quite large bauxite potential with production reaching 1,262,710 tons.
Part of the results of bauxite mining is used for the domestic industry and the other part is exported. Bauxite is mined in the Riau Archipelago (Bintan Island) and West Kalimantan (Singkawang).
Iron sand is used for the ferrous metal industry and the cement industry. Iron sand mining activities can be found in Cilacap (Central Java), Sumatra, Lombok, Yogyakarta, Mount Tegak (Lampung), Verbeek Mountains (South Sulawesi) and Sebuku Island (South Kalimantan).
Gold is generally used for jewelry. Based on data from Tekmira ESDM, Indonesia’s gold production in 2003 reached 141,019 tons. Here are the gold mines scattered in Indonesia. Papua (Freeport Timika), West Kalimantan (Sambas), Nangroe Aceh Darussalam (Meulaboh), North Sulawesi (Bolaang Mongondow, Minahasa), Riau (Logos), and Bengkulu (Rejang Lebong).
Indonesian Maritime Potential
Indonesia’s sea area covers 2/3 of the total area of Indonesia, which is 5.8 million km2. Indonesia’s potential marine resources are not only in the form of fish, but also include various mining materials such as petroleum, nickel, gold, bauxite, sand, iron ore, tin, and others that are below sea level.
Wealth that can be utilized from other marine resources is natural resources in the form of mangroves, coral reefs, and others. Resources that utilize the sea coast are known as coastal resources.
For more details, here is how much Indonesia’s maritime potential is according to the Ministry of Education and Culture Team (2017, pp. 34-37).
Fishery resources are one of the potential marine resources in Indonesia which have been used by the community for a long time. The Indonesian sea has a large number of sustainable potential, which is 6.4 million tons per year.
Sustainable potential is the potential for fishing where it is still possible for fish to regenerate so that the number of fish caught does not reduce fish populations (Team of the Ministry of Education and Culture, 2017, p. 34). Of course fishing must be based on sustainable potential, so that the fish caught do not become extinct and their sustainability is maintained.
Based on international regulations, the allowable catch is 80% of the sustainable potential or around 5.12 million tonnes per year. In fact, the number of fish caught in Indonesia has not reached that number.
This means that there is still an opportunity to increase the number of allowable catches. When compared to the distribution of potential fish, it can be seen that there is a general difference between the western and eastern parts of Indonesia.
In western Indonesia, with an average sea depth of 75 meters, the most common types of fish found are small pelagic fish.
Slightly different conditions exist in the Eastern Indonesia region with an average sea depth reaching 4,000 m.
In eastern Indonesia, large pelagic fish such as skipjack and tuna are found.
In addition to the fish available in the ocean, Indonesians also cultivate fish a lot, especially in coastal areas. On the north coast of Java Island, many people develop fish farming businesses using ponds. The types of fish that are bred in ponds are usually milkfish and shrimp.
Unfortunately, our natural wealth in the form of fish has also been taken by fishermen from other countries as a practice of illegal fishing. There are several areas of Indonesian waters which are prone to illegal fishing activities including the Arafuru Sea (Papua) in eastern Indonesian waters.
Mangrove Forest (Mangrove)
Apart from fish, Indonesia’s marine wealth is also located in coastal areas in the form of mangrove forests, seaweed, seagrass beds, and coral reefs. Mangrove forest or mangrove forest is a type of forest that is in the tidal area of the sea.
During high tide, the mangrove forest is inundated by sea water, while at low tide, the mangrove forest is free from sea water stagnation. In general, mangrove forests develop well on protected beaches, river mouths or lagoons.
There are two functions of mangrove forests as potential marine resources in Indonesia, namely ecological and economic functions.
The ecological function of mangrove forests is as a habitat for marine animals to take shelter, find food and breed. In addition, mangrove forests also protect the coast from sea water abrasion.
The economic function of mangrove forests is the economic value of the wood of the trees and the living things in them. Usually people use wood as firewood or charcoal. Mangrove wood can also be used as material for making paper. Apart from wood, mangrove forests are also inhabited by various types of fauna that have economic value.
Indonesia’s mangrove forests are scattered on the west coast of Sumatra Island, some parts are on the north coast of Java Island, along the coast of Kalimantan Island, the coasts of Sulawesi Island, the south coast of Papua, and several other small islands. The area of mangrove forests in Indonesia reaches around 3 million hectares, which are spread along the 95,000 km coast of Indonesia (Giri et al., 2011).
Indonesia’s mangrove forests are not evenly distributed. The largest area of mangrove forests is on the island of Papua, which reaches 3.7 million ha. Next are Sumatra (417 thousand ha), Kalimantan (165 thousand ha), Sulawesi (53 thousand ha), Java (34.4 thousand ha), Bali and Nusa Tenggara (3.7 ha).
Besides having mangrove forests and fisheries, coral reefs are also one of Indonesia’s maritime potentials. Coral reefs are limestone sedimentary rocks in the sea which are formed from limestone which is mostly produced from corals or animals that produce lime for their skeletons.
If thousands of corals form colonies, those corals will form corals. As an archipelagic country, Indonesia is a country that has the largest coral reefs in the world. The area of Indonesia’s coral reefs reaches 284.3 thousand km2 or the equivalent of 18% of the coral reefs in the world.
The wealth of Indonesia’s coral reefs is not only from the extent, but from the biodiversity that is in it as well. The biodiversity of coral reefs in Indonesia is also the highest in the world. In it there are 2,500 species of fish, 2,500 species of molluscs, 1,500 species of crustaceans, and 590 species of coral.
Why are coral reefs found in many parts of Indonesia? Coral reefs will be able to grow well at sea water temperatures between 21 – 29 0 C. At temperatures higher or lower than that, coral reef growth will not be good. Because Indonesia is in the tropics and the temperature of the waters is warm, it is only natural that coral reefs can be found in Indonesia.
In addition to warm water temperatures, coral reefs will also grow well in clear and shallow water conditions. Good water depth for coral reefs is not more than 18 meters. If it is deeper than 18 the coral will not grow properly.
Coral reefs also need high salinity or salt content of seawater. Therefore, coral reefs are usually not found around estuaries, because it is difficult to live as a result of the mixing of river water into the sea which makes it brackish (not too high in salt content).
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