Give a brief account of the area distribution of mangroves in India. Discuss the Importance of mangrove conservation and its benefits.

Mangrove is a small tree or shrub which grows in coastal saline or brackish water areas. It has numerous tangled roots that grow above ground known as pneumatophores to take oxygen.

Mangrove in India: According to the India State of Forest Report 2019, the total mangrove cover in India is 4,975 sq km (0.15% of the total geographical area). Mangrove forest in India is found at least in 10 states. Among them, most area coverage is found in the state of  West Bengal (42.45%). West Bengal is followed by Gujarat, Andaman & Nicobar island.

The other states and UTs with mangrove coverage are Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Daman & Diu, Puducherry.

Regions: Some of the popular mangrove regions of India are Sundarbans (West Bengal), Bhitarkanika (Odisha), Godavari-Krishna region (Andhra Pradesh), Pichavaram (Tamil Nadu), Baratang Island (Andaman and Nicobar Islands), etc.

In 1987, Sundarban was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Importance:

  • The complex root system of mangrove is efficient for dissipating sea wave energy which protects the coastal area from cyclonic storms, tsunamis, soil erosion. The devastating tsunami of 2004 recognized its importance.
  • Mangrove forests help in sediment deposition with metal contaminants which prevents seawater pollution.
  • The mangrove area acts as a breeding place of marine fishes and faunas.
  • The coastal communities are widely dependent on the forest. Their livelihood depends on the honey collection, fishing, tannins and wax collection, etc.
  • Mangroves have a significant role as a carbon sink.

We must protect mangroves from depletion to provide natural protection to the environment.

Question for UPSC Mains:
Give a brief account of the area distribution of mangroves in India. Discuss the Importance of mangrove conservation and its benefits.

Published: December 8, 2016 | Modified:August 16, 2020

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