Mangroves ecosystem is rich in biodiversity located at the interface of land and sea in tropical regions. These help in ensuring food security for many coastal communities. Mangroves provide biomass, forest products and help in sustaining fisheries. They contribute immensely to the protection of coastlines and help in mitigating the effects of climate change and extreme weather events such as tsunamis.
However, it is reported that mangroves are fast disappearing three to five times than the global forests. This has a serious impact on ecology, socio and economic aspect of the communities depending on for livelihood. It is also a fact that mangroves biodiversity is endangered and threatened by the alarming rise in the sea level. Therefore it is important to protect the mangrove ecosystems to keep ensuring the balanced ecosystem and livelihoods of the dependent communities.
The General Conference of the UNESCO, at its 38th session, has passed a resolution to adopt July 28, as the International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem. The UNESCO’s proclamation states that, “Considering that mangroves are a unique, special and vulnerable ecosystem, providing by virtue of their existence, biomass and productivity substantial benefits to human beings, providing forestry, fishery goods and services as well as contributing to the protection of the coastline and being particularly relevant in terms of mitigation of the effects of climate change and food security for local communities”.
In India, mangroves are spread on the West and East Coasts, and Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Rapid industrialisation, pollution and demand for housing have resulted in fast depleting of mangroves at a quick pace. However, India has a long tradition of managing mangrove forests, be it in the Sundarbans, Thane Creek or Goa and there’s a legal protection for the ecosystem in the form of Coastal Regulation Zone Notification. On the day of the International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem, it important to understand and take initiatives to protect, conserve and nurture mangrove ecosystem.
There is more than one way of extending the helping hand in the survival of the mangrove ecosystem. There should not be any compromise in protection and restoration of degraded mangrove areas. The simplest act is to get acquainted with gain knowledge about the mangroves ecosystem. It is important to be an active citizen in reporting destruction in mangrove ecosystem to the appropriate authorities in case of any violation.
It is important to spread the awareness highlighting the issues of land reclamation, coastal regulation zone notification and encroachment and illegal destruction of the mangrove ecosystem. It also helps local authorities to implement legal provisions. It is critical to influencing the state government and local bodies to initiate interventions to protect the fast depleting natural resources. It helps to be a savior by participating in plantation of mangroves in their natural habitat.
Mangroves are among the most valuable ecosystems, local administrative authorities along with the public, in general, have to take action fast to take full control of the protection and conservation on war footing. It is important to reiterate that the mangroves are vital in protecting the coast against storms, tsunamis, and erosion and all interventions have to be directed with the belief that mangroves act as coastal defense. There are always additional benefits to the larger biodiversity with the protection of mangroves. Therefore, all efforts should result in increased public awareness of the importance of mangroves, their survival and increase the spread of mangrove foothold.
About the Author
Nirbhay Lumde is a Corporate Social Responsibility professional and writes on current social, economic and environmental trends. He is an alumnus of IIT Bombay.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the article are solely those of the author in his personal capacity and do not in any way represent the views of any entity, organisation that the author may have been associated with.
The CSR Journal Team