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.
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.
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
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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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