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Trees+ for Coastal Ecosystems

Chengalpattu, Tamil Nadu, India

Available for Adoption upto: 100,000 Trees

Project Purpose
Trees for Coastal Ecosystem

Location

The tree plantation project is being implemented in the Kulathoor and Thenpakkam villages located in the Chegalpattu district of Tamil Nadu.

Aim

Enhancement of

Biodiversity

Carbon Sequestration

Disaster Mitigation

Increase in

Green Cover

Generation of

Rural Employment

Control Soil Erosion

Why Trees?

 

The Chengalpattu district in Tamil Nadu has suffered greatly from a series of natural disasters. In December 2004, Tamil Nadu was hit by the Indian Ocean Tsunami, and suffered severe losses. Nearly 44 hamlets in 30 revenue villages of Chengalpattu District were impacted. Later in 2015, Tamil Nadu faced floods that damaged infrastructure as well as human lives. Livestock, farmland, and everything around the coastal areas of the district was in a devastated state. The rise in the temperature post the flood event caused severe water scarcity in the area. Irregular rainfall and high temperatures have worsened the living condition of villagers. In 2019, the area suffered from a severe drought which aggravated the water crisis.

 

In an effort to address the vulnerability of the area, restoring the mangroves along the coastal ecosystem promises to be a worthy solution to the challenges faced by the area.

 

Mangroves are often overlooked but are extremely crucial to the coastal ecosystems they inhabit. These unique ecosystems act as a buffer between marine and terrestrial communities and protect shorelines from damaging winds, waves, and floods. In addition to restoring the ecosystem and strengthening the biodiversity of the area, mangroves are crucial in the fight against climate change. It is known for its ability to absorb three to four times more carbon than regular trees. A healthy mangrove plantation can also go a long way in supporting the needs of the local communities.

 

In an article in Mongabay, P. Ragavan of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), National Botanical Research Institute, Lucknow highlighted the importance of mangroves. He says, “Mangroves prevent coastal erosion by reducing the height and energy of wind and swell waves passing through them and minimize the impact of natural hazards such as typhoons, cyclones, hurricanes, and tsunamis, helping to shelter lives and assets of coastal communities.”

 

According to IUCN, more than half of all mangrove ecosystems are at risk of collapse by 2050.[1] Similarly, another article in Mongabay points out why mangroves deserve our attention and protection. It says, “Although they’re only found in tropical areas and cover an estimated 140,000 square kilometers – less than 3 percent the extent of the Amazon rainforest – mangroves are powerhouses when it comes to carbon storage. Studies indicate that pound for pound, mangroves can sequester four times more carbon than rainforests can. Most of this carbon is stored in the soil beneath mangrove trees.” The article goes to further explain the monetary value that mangroves provide. It states, “Researchers estimate the monetary value of the benefits, or “ecosystem services,” provided by mangroves at $194,000 per hectare annually. Multiplied by their global extent, that means the world’s remaining mangroves provide around $2.7 trillion in services every year.”

Tree Species

 

At our planting site, we take great care in selecting the types of trees to ensure that they align with the needs of the ecosystem and the local beneficiaries.

 

For the coastal ecosystem, we planted the Red mangrove (Rhizophora Apiculata), Asiatic Mangrove (Rhizophora Mucronata) and Grey mangrove (Avicinia Marina).

 

The stilt root extract of Red mangrove is popularly used as a mosquito repellent. The wood is also commonly used as pulp to make blotting and corrugating paper. Both the Asiatic mangrove and Grey mangrove are used for timber, its leaves as fodder and the barks for tannin. The seedlings of the Asiatic mangrove are edible and have been used traditionally for medicinal purposes.

Social Impact

 

Tree plantation offers numerous benefits that span across multiple aspects.*

 

Our project generates employment opportunities for the local communities since we are committed to working closely with them. They are involved in preparing the saplings in the nursery, transportation of the saplings, and plantation and maintenance of the planting site. The local communities can also earn additional income from the plantation produce, in this case, they can supplement their income from timber and fruits once the tree matures. Tree plantation activities provide employment for women as many women workers participate in our projects.

 

Mangroves act as a natural barrier against the impacts of natural disasters. For the coastal communities, it serves as a vital line of defence against environmental threats such as cyclones, heavy rains, and rising sea levels to name a few.

 

Our projects include a community sensitisation component aimed at engaging and educating the local community on the importance of mangroves. These efforts do not only seek to raise awareness but also to encourage sustainable practices that will ensure long-term success.

Trees do an excellent job absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. A mature tree can absorb up to 20 kg of CO2 each year. Trees keep the temperature cool and reduce atmospheric stressors.

 

*The environmental benefits of the trees reach their full potential as they mature.

 

Trees+ Project

 

Our commitment extends beyond tree plantation. The Trees+ project weaves together mangrove restoration and seaweed cultivation, creating a powerful synergy for a thriving coastal ecosystem and empowered community.

 

We provided infrastructure containing bamboo rafts, ropes, nets and seedlings and other necessary equipment for seaweed cultivation to the local communities. They were sensitised on how to use these resources for maximum output. We utilise a unique seaweed farming model with a short 45-day harvest cycle, enabling marginalised communities to sell their harvest at a decent rate.

 

Because of its array of benefits, this integrated approach not only protects the environment but also fosters a thriving, self-sufficient local community, making Trees+ a sustainable model for coastal development.

 

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