In recent times, lots of attention is being given to the protection of mangroves. What benefits mangroves offer?
1. They provide wood, non-wood as well as fishery resources
2. They provide abundant scope for water sports such as rowing, kayaking, canoeing etc.
3. Some mangrove plants are useful in Medicinal purposes
Select the correct option from the codes given below:

Answer: [D] 1, 2 & 3

This question is based on a report published in June 2015 edition of Science Reporter about the Pichavaram of Tamil Nadu. The following text comes from that report:

The mangrove forest of Pichavaram is located 250 km south of Chennai. A unique eco-tourism spot in south India, the Pichavaram mangrove provides abundant scope for water sports such as rowing, kayaking, canoeing etc.

The mangrove covers an area of about 1400 hectares. The availability of different habitat types such as channels, creeks, gullies, mud flats and adjacent sea shore offers an ideal habitat for different species of plants, birds, animals of rare varieties of economically important shell and fin fishes.

The Pichavaram mangrove is a pristine reserve of rich flora and fauna and is considered among the healthiest mangroves in the world. There are as many as 14 species of exclusive mangrove species, besides 24 species of trees, 21 shrubs, 28 herbs, 82 species of phytoplankton including 70 species of diatoms, 22 species of seaweeds, 20 species of blue-green algae and 3 species of sea grasses growing in this region.

Almost 17 hamlets of 5 revenue villages are benefitted from these mangroves utilizing the wood, non wood and fishery resources. The farming communities cultivate paddy and ground nut as major crops and in elevated land Casuarina cultivation is done. The people also depend on the mangrove for medicinal purposes, for example, Excoecaria agallocha (Thillai) for latex for toothache, Acanthus ilicifolius fruits for dressing snake bite, and Salicornia brachiata plant ash for treating itches.

Rich fishery resource of 237 tons is harvested every year from the Pichavaram mangrove wetlands of which prawn alone constitutes 208 tons, whereas fish and crab constitute 19 and 9 tons respectively. There are also animals like sea otter, water snake, foxes, water dogs, turtles, and water fowl. Pichavaram is also a sanctuary for 176 species of birds including herons, storks, sea eagles, egrets, kingfishes, sand-pipers, etc.

Communities living close to and interacting with the Pichavaram mangrove wetlands have gained their unique cognitive understanding of the ecosystem from the resource utilization pattern. Experiences have led to a rich knowledge system that is reflected in the native classification of mangrove wetlands. Local communities have developed their own traditional system of management to ensure sustainable harvest of mangrove resources and equitable sharing of harvested products.

However, the socio-economic life of the fisher folk is currently suffering due to reduction of fishery resources due to sandbar formation near the river mouth resisting free flow of tidal waters to the mangrove. Dredging of the river mouth region and  afforestation of denuded areas can easily solve this problem.

This question is a part of GKToday's Integrated IAS General Studies Module