CSR 2016 – Boskalis 40


Boskalis, as one of the partners in the EcoShape consortium, has embarked on a five-year Building with Nature project to halt coastal erosion in Central Java. Through a unique integration of mangrove restoration, small-scale engineering and sustainable land use the project is expected to turn the tide.

Urgent action needed

With some 70,000 residents in the Demak district in Indonesia, urgent action was needed as the coastline has been retreating at an alarming rate, with the sea already having taken more than three kilometers of land in some places. Mangrove forests that can help dampen waves and stabilize sediment have been chopped down for aquaculture development. There is also significant subsidence as a result of the extraction of fresh water, making the impact of rising sea levels even worse. EcoShape knew that it could help prevent further deterioration of the situation by using the Building with Nature principles to restore the mangrove coast. Fokko van der Goot, EcoShape Program Manager and Senior Environmental Engineer at Boskalis, and Femke Tonneijck, Program Manager at Wetlands International, the NGO coordinating the Java project, explain why a technical solution is not enough to make this crucial project a success; education and socio-economic considerations are just as important.

A technical solution is not enough

Fokko: “Boskalis is a specialist in managing sediment and in Java we are specifically looking at how sediment can be brought to the shore to restore the coastline. Actually, we were inspired by how the Netherlands used to reclaim land centuries ago by constructing permeable dams made from willows. The dams were used to dampen the waves and take the energy out of the water, while the

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