Field Visit Update: December 27-28, 2018
Grow-Trees have been implementing mangrove tree plantation programme as ‘Trees for Forest and Wildlife’ consecutively for seven years at the periphery of Sunderban Tiger Reserve, West Bengal. The programme is being carried out with support from Tata Chemical Foundation for the mangrove plantation. The programme involves plantation of local mangrove species mostly jat bain(Avicennia officinalis), peyara bain(Avicennia marina), kalo bain(Avicennia alba), kankra(Bruguiera gymnorrhiza), garjan(Rhizophora apiculata), pasur(Xylocarpus mekongensis) and math garan(Ceriops tagal). A field visit to the plantation sites and discussion with the local stakeholders conducted during December 27-28, 2018.
• To protect the mangrove habitat with native tree plantation
• To create rural employment opportunities with the project implementation and monitoring
• To create natural embankment with valued mangrove plantation
Field visit objectives:
• To monitor and follow up with the plantation programme
• To interact with the local stakeholders
• To gather primary field information regarding the project implementation
1. Mr Bikrant Tiwary, CEO
2. Mr Basant Kr. Sharma, Project Coordinator
Grow-Trees with support from Tata Chemicals Foundation has been implementing a yearly plantation programme since the year 2011-2012 at the mangrove of Sunderbans Tiger Reserve in South 24 Parganas district of West Bengal. The plantation project aims at improving the wildlife habitat, to create more livelihood opportunities among the locals and to prepare the natural embankment with mangrove tree plantation securing the landscape ecology. At the local level, the project is monitored with the help from the Tagore Society for Rural Development (TSRD)with its activity based in the state. A field visit to the plantation sites at the Sunderban Tiger Reserve conducted during December 27-28, 2018. Grow-Trees representatives were accompanied by the program executives from the Tagore Society for Rural Development during the on-site visit. Villages and mangroves of Rajapur, Phakhirala, Kachukhali and Ranipur in Gosaba Range of South 24 Parganas were covered during the two- days field visit.
Mangroves form the most important and unique feature of Sunderbans forests with their ability to thrive both in dry as well as flood like conditions. Due to the presence of both saltwater and freshwater, both types of plants are present and support the habitat in their unique way. The loss of the land due to rising sea levels and erosion is causing not only the ecological disruption but also bringing the displacement of rural communities and exacerbating poverty. The loss of mangrove cover in the area is alarming. Thus emphasising the importance of mangroves in the food web of coastal ecosystems and to arrest the further degradation and to improve the both the terrestrial and the aquatic life of the area the plantation project has been formulated.
Peculiar mangrove species includes mostly jat bain(Avicennia officinalis), peyara bain(Avicennia marina), kalo bain(Avicennia alba), kankra(Bruguiera gymnorrhiza), garjan(Rhizophora apiculata), pasur(Xylocarpus mekongensis) and math garan(Ceriops tagal) for plantation. Yearly eight hectares of land opted to carry out the mangrove plantation in the identified area. Mangrove consists plantation of 7000 species (approx.) per hectare area, which is comparatively very high over any other ecological site. Plantation of over 350,000 saplings has been successfully conducted in the past seven years in the mangrove.
In the words of Mr A Bhattacharya (TSRD’s representative), the plantation has the significant impact on improving the mangrove ecology, several species of birds are getting attracted, fishing production has improved so as the quality of the water. Similarly, Mr S Banerjee (Coordinator, TSRD) pointed out that the plants are working as the wind-checker as well as helping in the conservation of the embankments.
The plantation of mangroves around villages at the Periphery of the Sundarbans National Park has direct implication in rural livelihoods by creating jobs in nursery and planting activities, improve fisheries catch, provide flowers, fruit, fodder and fuel to rural communities and wildlife, improve carbon sequestration potential of the forests, fight climate change, and benefit endemic wildlife including the endangered Tiger.