Coastal Resources Conservation & Management

Mangrove Restoration & Rejuvenation

Mangroves form the forest vegetation fringing the coastal areas of Gulf of Kachchh. Forest and marine ecosystems are intricately linked to form a complex coastal ecosystem. Although the mangrove ecosystem in itself is simple, combined with the marine ecosystem, it forms a network of extremely intricately linked ecosystem complex. Mangroves not only form excellent habitats for a variety of marine fauna, but a thick mangrove cover also helps in breaking down extreme and destructive wave action thus providing the coastal communities protection against the onslaught of coastal disasters. This component of the ICZM Gujarat Project intends to restore and conserve mangroves with the help of the coastal communities.

The project will also benefit the coastal communities by providing them with alternative employment through community-based mangrove plantation and regeneration activities.

Project at a Glance
Start Date June, 2010 End Date June, 2015
Cost INR 138 Crore (GEC: INR 57 Crore & MNP&S: INR 81 Crore) Funding Agency World Bank
Implementing agencies Gujarat Ecology Commission (GEC) and Marine National Park & Sanctuary (MNP&S)
Components NA
Goal Facilitating community-based mangrove plantation and socio-economic development of coastal communities in the project area Creation of mass awareness on conservation of coastal natural resources and coastal zone management Creation of sustainable mangrove conservation models Conservation and Management of coastal natural resources in the Gulf of Kachchh Capacity building of MNP&S for better management of the National Park & Sanctuary Conservation and Management of MNP&S and other coastal natural resources
Contact GEC, MNP&S, GEER Foundation

However, recently mangroves are being destroyed due to a combination of natural as well as anthropogenic factors. Natural disasters result in the destruction of mangroves and so does rampant cutting of mangroves by the coastal communities for firewood and fodder for animals as well as construction and operation of ports, jetties and industries in close proximity to the mangrove forests. Thus increasing human population leads to over-exploitation of mangroves resulting in destruction of the biological processes of the ecosystem, becoming a threat to their existence. An urgent need to establish a systematic management of mangrove ecosystems was therefore identified to secure this valuable resource.

Goal

Facilitating community-based mangrove plantation and socio-economic development of coastal communities in the project area

Creation of mass awareness on conservation of coastal natural resources and coastal zone management

Creation of sustainable mangrove conservation models

Conservation and Management of coastal natural resources in the Gulf of Kachchh

Capacity building of MNP&S for better management of the National Park & Sanctuary

Conservation and Management of MNP&S and other coastal natural resources

Objective

To contribute towards an increased understanding and acceptance of the need to protect, conserve and regenerate mangroves with the help of local communities, Government and coastal industries.

To contribute towards capacity building of coastal communities and Staff of the Forest Department for community-based mangrove regeneration as part of integrated coastal zone management project.

To increase the mangrove cover in coastal areas through extensive plantations of mangroves in potential coastal and island areas.

To enrich the marine biodiversity by restoring selected mangroves species in the Gulf of Kachchh.

Eco-development program for villages adjoining the coastal area of Gulf of Kachchh to increase people’s participation.

To facilitate establishment of interpretation centers and Eco-tourism to sensitize people towards marine biodiversity and its importance.

To increase the sensitivity of the people of Gujarat towards the necessity for coastal eco-system conservation.

Issues & Causes

The primary issue identified under this sub-component is the uncurbed and rampant destruction of mangroves along the coast owing to various factors. Some of the causes of mangrove destruction that have been identified are:

  1. 1. Cutting of Mangroves for fuel and fodder by local communities:

    Mangroves provide an excellent and easy form of fuel wood. Therefore, communities along the coast have been involved in reckless cutting of mangrove forests for fuel wood. Mangrove foliage also serves as an excellent form of fodder for cattle. Therefore, mangroves have been recklessly destroyed by the coastal communities without realizing the detrimental effect of such an activity on marine life and biodiversity.

  2. 2. Destruction of mangroves due to construction of ports, jetties and industries in proximity to the mangrove forests:

    Extensive construction activity along the coast also results in destruction of mangroves. Construction and operation of ports, jetties and industries interferes with the conditions conducive for mangrove growth. Pollution along the coast interferes with the healthy growth of mangrove. Mangrove forests are also destroyed in the process of acquisition of land for further development activities.

  3. 3. Reduced Natural Regeneration:

    Another factor for reduction in mangrove cover is the reduction in natural regeneration of mangroves. Mangroves are primarily estuarine plants requiring a mix of fresh and saline water for growth. However, a reduction in fresh water supply in the Gulf of Kachchh has increased the salinity of water. NO major rivers except the Indus with its reduced annual flow, pour fresh water in the Gulf of Kachchh. As a result, only hardy species such as the Avicennia Marina, with a high salt tolerance, have survived. Thus, these two are the primary factors resulting in the destruction of these silent guardians of the coast.

Project Benefits

Intangible Benefits:

  • Enrichment of biodiversity
  • Reduction in coastal erosion
  • Protection against natural calamities like cyclone, hurricane, tsunami, etc.

Tangible Benefits:

  • Increased livelihood opportunities through community-based regeneration and plantation activities
  • Enhanced fishery resource in the near-shore waters by restoration of marine habitat
  • Easy access to fuel wood and small timber requirement through sustainable harvesting of mangroves
  • Increased fodder availability for livestock rearers through alternative resource creation

Marine National Park Mangrove Plantation map for the year 2010-11



Marine National Park Mangrove Plantation map for the year 2011-12


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