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close this bookEnvironmental Changes on the Coasts of Indonesia (UNU, 1980, 53 pages)
View the documentPreface
View the document1. The Indonesian coastal environment
View the document2. The changing coastlines of Indonesia
View the document3. Problems in the changing coastal environment
View the document4. Some tasks for future research
View the documentReferences
View the documentOther UNU publications


This report on environmental changes on the coasts of Indonesia has been prepared to provide a background for further study and research. The need for such a review became apparent when graduate training courses in coastal resources management were initiated in Indonesia by the United Nations University, in association with the Indonesian Institute of Science (LIPI), in 1979. Although there is a substantial scientific literature on the coasts of Indonesia, especially from Java and Sumatra, with major contributions by such workers as H. T. Verstappen, J. H. F. Umbgrove, and H. D. Tjia, it exists in widely scattered papers and monographs, many of which are not readily accessible to graduate students and research workers on Indonesia. Moreover, material relevant to the question of changes that have occurred in recent centuries around the coasts of Indonesia, and especially to changes now in progress, occurs only patchily within this scientific literature, much of which is concerned with longer-term geological and geomorphological information.

It therefore seemed appropriate for us to review the available information on coastal changes in Indonesia and provide a readily accessible summary which can be used by graduate students and research workers on the next phase of study of coastal dynamics. On the one hand, there is a need for much more basic information from the less well known sectors of Indonesian coastline, especially in Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Nusatenggara, and Irian Jaya. On the other hand, there is a need for updating and intensification of research already carried out in Java and Sumatra. We hope that, by providing this report, we can stimulate this further research.

Another aim is to review the features of the changing coastlines of Indonesia for wider recognition. In 1972, the International Geographical Union (IOU) set up a Working Group to compile world-wide data on rates and patterns of coastal change, and in 1976, when a preliminary report on this project was issued, it became clear that Indonesia was one of the regions from which much more information was required. We have, therefore, made comparative studies of past and present maps, charts, and air photographs (including satellite photographs], in order to identify sectors where changes have taken place, and to supplement and update information previously published. With the support of the National Oceanological Institute (LON) in Jakarta, and the United Nations University through its Natural Resources Programme- we have been able to visit sectors of the Indonesian coastline to conduct field studies. It will be obvious that our work is of a preliminary nature, and that there is a need for many research workers to study sectors of the long and intricate coastlines of the Indonesian archipelago that have so far received little if any attention.

The report consists of four chapters, the first of which deals with the environmental factors and processes that have influenced coastal evolution in Indonesia. With this as background, the second chapter summarizes information available on Indonesian coastal features, and the patterns and rates of documented shoreline changes. The third chapter examines some of the problems that have arisen as the result of these changes, and the fourth outlines the research tasks that should now be undertaken, including more detailed monitoring of active changes, the assessment of Man's impacts on coastal systems, and the need to identify sites of special scientific interest that should be conserved and managed as coastal reserves for educational and research purposes.

We are grateful to the sponsoring organizations, the United Nations University and the National Oceanological Institute of Indonesia, for enabling us to carry out this work, and especially Dr. Aprilani Soegiarto, Director of the National Oceanological Institute, for his support and encouragement of our investigations. We also thank Mr. Karel Giebel and the staff of the map room of the Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen in Amsterdam for assistance with historical maps of Indonesia, Dr. Verstappen of the Institute for Aerial Survey and Earth Sciences in Enschede for geomorphological data, and Dr. Tjia of Universiti Kegangsaan, Malaysia, for comments on sea-level changes and permission to reproduce Figure 3. Mr. Ken Boston of Melbourne State College and Mrs. Michele Barson of the University of Melbourne also contributed valuable information obtained during visits to the Netherlands. We acknowledge the assistance of Mr. Robert Bartlett and Mr. Ken Pohlner, Department of Geography, University of Melbourne, in the preparation of diagrams and photographs, and the cartographers of Lembaga Oseanologi Nasional for their help in drafting the sequential maps.

1 March 1980

E. C. F. Bird
O. S. R. Ongkosongo