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T.N. Forest Division to scale up mangrove cowl in Pichavaram by 100 hectares in 2023-24

An aerial view of mangroves planted under a ‘fishbone’ design, in Killai Pichavaram in Cuddalore district

An aerial view of mangroves planted below a ‘fishbone’ design, in Killai Pichavaram in Cuddalore district
| Picture Credit score: Particular Association

The Tamil Nadu Forest Division has drawn up a complete plan for the rehabilitation of coastal habitats by creating bio-shields, and restoring degraded mangroves in Cuddalore district. The Division has deliberate to revive degraded areas in Pichavaram, and enhance mangrove cowl within the area by 100 hectares for the yr 2023-24. 

The Pichavaram mangroves are among the many most efficient ecosystems within the State, and are a storehouse of biodiversity, supporting 840 species of wildlife. These contains 115 species of birds, 16 species of mammals, 11 amphibians, 177 species of finfish, 95 species of zooplanktons, 82 phytoplanktons, 35 species of butterflies, 17 snakes and three species of seagrass.

Nonetheless, the mangroves are below severe menace of degradation attributable to numerous elements. Realising this, the Forest Division has deliberate the restoration of about 350 hectares of degraded patches in Pichavaram over the following three years. 

Official sources mentioned the scheme for rehabilitation of coastal habitats and creation of bio-shields is being applied in all coastal districts, and a serious portion of the work could be taken up in Killai and Pichavaram below the Inexperienced Tamil Nadu Mission.

The micro plan has been accredited by the District Inexperienced Committee/Wetlands Committee headed by Collector A. Arun Thamburaj and despatched to the State Authorities. New mangrove plantations will probably be taken up within the Uppanar River in Kudikadu village on an expanse of 25 hectares in two places throughout 2023-24.

In keeping with authorities estimates, the mangrove cowl in Tamil Nadu is 44.94 sq. kilometres (sq km), out of which 7.73 sq km fall in Cuddalore. Straddling the Vellar and Coleroon estuaries, about 21% of Pichavaram is occupied by waterbodies, 27% by wholesome mangrove vegetation, 38% by mudflats with sparsely grown mangroves, and the remainder of the world is sand dunes. 

In keeping with Villupuram District Forest Officer (DFO) Sumesh Soman who holds extra cost of Cuddalore district, “As many as 13 species of mangroves are present in Pichavaram. Of those, there are just a few people of species like Lumnitzera racemosa and Rhizophora annamalayana. The degradation of mangroves normally happens because of excessive soil salinity attributable to irregular flushing and low tidal amplitude. The Division has deliberate to regenerate these two species through the use of scientific strategies such because the canal financial institution planting by modified fishbone design.” 

Mr. Soman added, “The fishbone mannequin permits the water to achieve each nook and nook of the sphere channels. This mannequin has discovered success in earlier functions at Pichavaram. The Division has additionally deliberate linear planting in riverine or estuary areas the place the inter-tidal space may be very low, however is flushed by tidal water commonly.”

“We’ve additionally deliberate the linear planting of mangroves on a 20 km stretch of the shoreline from 2024 to 2026. This will probably be carried out for 2 years with a ten km stretch every year. The planting will probably be taken up from Muzhukkuthurai to Mudasalodai, MGR Thittu to Chinnavaikkal and Boat Home to Chinnavaikkal,” the DFO mentioned. 

The Division has additionally deliberate the event of a bio-shield by planting non-mangrove species reminiscent of casuarina and palmyra on 10 hectares within the present yr, to guard the coast from excessive climate occasions reminiscent of cyclones, floods and rise in sea ranges. 

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