Mangroves are a special type of vegetation. And they are found in the intertidal regions where freshwater and saltwater intermixes, in the bays, estuaries, creeks, and lagoons. They are the salt-tolerant variety of plants, which can survive in harsh conditions. And they are economically and ecologically significant.
An important section in the Geography syllabus of the IAS Exam, the topic, ‘Mangroves’ should be well-studied by the aspirants. This article will give details about this concept which will be of immense use for candidates appearing for the IAS Exam.
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Also, read about other kinds of forests in the linked articles below:
Important Facts about Mangroves and Mangroves Forest
The table below mentions the ten important points on Mangroves and Mangroves Forest that are a part of natural vegetation in India:
Mangroves in India
|S.No||Characteristics of Mangroves|
|1.||They represent the littoral forest ecosystem.|
|2.||Low lying areas of tropical and subtropical regions (Between 24 degrees North and 38 degrees South) are home to Mangroves|
|3.||They are also called Halophytes – They are salt-tolerant.|
|4.||The trees that grow in Mangrove Forests are generally 8-20 meters high. These trees have thick leaves.|
|5.||They are confined to tropical and subtropical regions as they need high solar radiation to filter saline water through their roots.|
|6.||They have blind roots which are called Pneumatophores. These roots help these trees to respire in anaerobic soils.|
|7.||The seeds of Mangrove Forests trees germinate in the trees itself before falling – This is called Viviparity mode of reproduction|
|8.||Mangrove Forests trees project different types of roots:
|9.||There are types of Mangroves:
|10.||The major mangroves in India are found at:
- The Andhra Pradesh Government has constituted a seven-member committee for fulfillment of norms required for proposing the Godavari Mangroves (Mada forests), at Coringa, as a World Heritage Site. The mangrove forests in Andhra Pradesh are located in the estuaries of the Godavari and the Krishna rivers. The Godavari mangroves are located in the Godavari estuary of the East Godavari district.
- Mangrove habitats of Kochi in Kerala can store significant amounts of carbon for the long-term despite being heavily fragmented, but they need immediate attention. Crab density, mangrove leaf litter, and mangrove biomass shape the carbon sequestration potential of Kochi’s mangrove habitats. Read more on Carbon Sequestrations on the linked page. The amount of sequestered carbon in Cochin (Kochi) mangroves is comparable to the amount stored in mangrove forests found globally.
Mangroves in India State Forest Report 2019
According to the Forest Survey of India, 2019, Mangroves’ cover in the country increased by 54 sq km (91.10 percent) in comparison to the 2017 assessment. The significant points put across by the State Forest Report 2019:
- Mangroves face limiting factors like:
- Lack of Oxygen
- High Salinity
- Diurnal Tidal Inundations
- Mangroves adapt the following to live with their limiting factors:
- Succulent Leaves
- Sunken Stomata
- Pneumatophores (Aerial Roots)
- Stilt roots
- Mangroves make 1 percent of the tropical forests of the world.
- India has 3 percent of the total mangrove cover in South Asia.
- There are some important mangrove species in India:
- Avicennia Officinalis
- Morinda Citrifolia
- Rhizophora mucronata
- Sonneratia Alba
- Avicennia Alba
- Bruguiera Cylindrica
- Heriteira Littoralis
- Phoenix paludosa
- Ceriops Tagal
- Mangrove Cover in India is 4975 sq km (0.15 percent of the total geographical area.)
- Mangrove cover is divided as:
- Very Dense – 1476 sq km (29.66 percent)
- Moderately Dense – 1479 sq km (29.73 percent)
- Open Mangroves – 2020 sq km (40.61 percent)
- West Bengal has 42.45 percent of India’s mangrove cover (highest in the country.)
Read Forest Survey of India in the linked article.
Importance of Mangroves
The following points mention the importance of Mangroves:
- They protect coastal areas from Tsunamis storm surges and soil erosions; due to their complex root systems which dissipate sea wave energy
- Sediment deposition is a visible feature which arrests coastal erosion and seawater pollution
- Many fish species and other fauna breeds here
- They are an important source of livelihood for communities found in and around mangrove forests:
- Collection of Honey
- They are carbon sinks
Conservation of Mangroves
The State Forest Report 2019 mentions the following conservation techniques for Mangroves:
- The state of Gujarat uses direct seed sowing, raised bed plantations, and fishbone channel plantations to restore degraded mangroves.
- State of Andhra Pradesh has established Eco-DEvelopment Committees and Van Samrakshan Samithi to implement conservation projects in mangrove areas.
- The state of Maharashtra has been implementing restoration, protection, regeneration, and maintenance techniques to conserve mangroves.
Candidates reading the topic, ‘Mangroves in India’ for UPSC 2021, can read similar topics linked in the table below:
Mangroves Related Questions for UPSC
How many mangrove forests are there in India?
Mangrove Forests in India are found in the following states:
- West Bengal
- Tamil Nadu
- Andaman & Nicobar Islands
- Andhra Pradesh, etc.
Which is the largest mangrove forest in the world?
Which is the second largest mangrove forest in the world?