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The Mangrove Project

Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu, India

25,000 Trees Adopted by DCB Bank for FY 2020-21

Project Purpose
Trees for Forests & Wildlife

Location

The project involves plantation of trees on estuary land owned by the Rajakkamangalam Panchayat in Rajakkamangalam village, Kanyakumari District of Tamil Nadu. The estuary has a wetland of 200 hectares which holds brackish water due to the mixing of freshwater from Pandiyar and the seawater from high tide.

Aim

Enhancement of

Biodiversity

Carbon Sequestration

Increase in

Green Cover

Cleaning Rivers

by Improving Flow

Conservation of

Water Table

Why Trees?
“After the occurrence of tsunami in Tamil Nadu, India, frequent happenings of forcible intrusion and withdrawal of sea water with maximum threatening level affect the psychology of coastal communities and hence, consequential needs have arisen on programmes of disaster preparedness and risk management, livelihoods of people and conservation works. Mangrove trees, which serve as the savior of coastal eco system from intensive tidal waves, are found growing luxuriantly in the inter-tidal regions along the estuaries, backwater, islands and other protected areas. However, this valuable plantation has been deforested to such an extent that the eco system along the west coast of India is found under degraded condition.”, stated the SEEDS Trust in an article. Mangroves form the most important and unique feature of this area with their ability to thrive in both dry as well as flood-like conditions. Due to the presence of saltwater and freshwater at the same time, both types of plants are present and support the habitat in their own unique way.

Studies have found that land loss due to rising sea levels and erosion is causing the displacement of rural communities (entire villages in some cases) and exacerbating poverty. The planting site was once a designated mangrove forest, with a diverse species of mangroves and other associated species.  However, due to the land conversion for salt pans, the estuary degraded and is now either deforested or occupied by several invasive species. Climate change, sea level rise, and sediment starvation have contributed to land loss in the region and, thus, loss of forest cover. Scientific studies also talk about the role of mangroves in food security, containing the effect of storm surges and tsunamis, creating livelihood opportunities, CO2 sequestration, sediment trapping, nutrient recycling, etc.

The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) of the United States emphasizes the importance of mangroves in the food web of coastal ecosystems, therefore, making a direct impact on the terrestrial and aquatic life of the area. Mangrove Society of India's Executive Secretary Dr Arvind Untawale, mentions the significance of mangroves against tsunamis, pollution, protecting marine biodiversity and producing medicinal products.

Tree species
The local tree species to be planted include Rhizophora mucronata, Rhizophora apiculata, Rhizophora racemosa, Avicennia alba, Avicennia bicolor, Avicennia officinalis, Avicennia marina, Bruguiera parviflora, Bruguiera gymnorrhiza, Excoecaria agallocha, Ceriops tagal, Acanthus ilicifolius, Calophyllum inophyllum, Azadirachta indica, Pongamia pinnata, Thespesia populnea, Mangifera indica, Artocarpus heterophyllus, and Borassus flabellifer.

Social Impact
The plantation of mangroves will directly impact rural livelihoods by creating jobs in nursery and planting activities, improving fisheries catch, providing flowers, fruit, fodder and fuel to rural communities and wildlife. The plantation will enhance the environment by generating oxygen and reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, not only to fight climate change but also to benefit the endemic wildlife. Further, reforestation will provide ample livelihood opportunities for the people in the buffer area, preventing them from venturing into the forest and minimizing chances of conflict and empowerment of the dwellers as a result. The valued mangrove species will also improve the habitat for breeding of small fish, crabs and prawns which have high economic values even in the local markets. Mangrove forests aid as soil binder and will, thus, reduce soil erosion, strengthen embankment and significantly arrest tidal and cyclonic waves.

Tree Species
Target Completed


Planters

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