Mangrove forests of Gujarat proved to be important in preventing the side effects of ‘Biparjoy’ cyclone


Gandhinagar, 25 July (Hindustan). Mangroves are one of the most productive marine ecosystems on Earth, providing diverse habitats and protection for countless species. Along with this they provide essential goods and services to humans. Mangroves play an important role in contributing to biodiversity as well as protecting various species from danger.

The cyclonic storm ‘Biparjoy’ that hit Gujarat in June this year was a devastating disaster, which damaged man-made structures. But mangrove trees with strong roots in Kutch, Saurashtra and other wetlands acted as a green wall and shelter during this disaster. The mangrove forests and their intertwining roots scattered the flying debris, reducing the intensity of the cyclone. Due to this it became possible to protect the people and animals living in the surrounding areas. Mangrove forests are natural shelters not only for aquatic life, but also for people living in coastal areas.

International Day for Conservation of Mangrove Ecosystem is observed on 26 July every year. It was announced by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). It aims to raise awareness for mangroves and promote this wonderful ecosystem created by nature.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is working to implement a holistic model for the conservation of biodiversity. The Mangrove Initiative for Shoreline Habitats and Tangible Incomes (Mishti) scheme was announced in the Budget 2023-24, which is another major step towards the Prime Minister’s commitment.

The Mishti scheme aims to increase the mangrove cover to 540 sq km along the coastline and salt-land areas. Mangrove forests will be developed in 11 states and 2 union territories during the next five years. The scheme will support local communities in coastal areas to maintain mangrove ecosystems in their natural habitat and develop nature-based communities for mangrove conservation, which will suit the lifestyle, culture and heritage of these local communities. Under this, the Government of India will bear 80 percent of the project cost, while 20 percent will be contributed by the respective states.

Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel recently allocated a budget of Rs 34 crore for the conservation and restoration of the mangrove ecosystem. This budget is divided between the Forest Department and the Gujarat Ecology Commission (GEC). GEC has been working for mangrove conservation in the state for a long time. Their mangrove plantation program works in collaboration with local communities, the Forest Department, NGOs, private partners, government authorities and the World Bank. The aim of this teamwork is to sensitize local communities to organize and aggregate mangrove forests where they can cultivate fish and crab as well as fodder.

GEC provides training to Community Based Organizations (CBOs). The nursery rearing and program is directly supervised by the CBO, which provides alternative livelihood to the local people, balances the salinity of the soil and makes it fertile, and in the process preserves the mangrove ecosystem.

The Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model has proven successful for both the development of regional communities and the conservation of the mangrove ecosystem. The Government of Gujarat has signed several MoUs and established partnerships for the conservation of mangrove forests since the inception of the ‘Mishti’ scheme. This joint venture will develop a strategic plan for the conservation, restoration and expansion of the state’s mangrove ecosystem.

Mangrove tree is a wonder of nature and also an asset for us. Gujarat is a state which is rapidly moving towards industrialization, so it is important to encourage the mangrove ecosystem with balance. Apart from GEC, Forest Department and local bodies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), research institutions and local communities work in cooperation with each other for the conservation of mangrove forests.

Mangroves in Gujarat

Naturally wonderful mangrove forests are spread along the long coastal areas of the Indian subcontinent. According to the Forest Survey of India (FSI-2021) report, Gujarat’s coastline has an area of ​​1175 sq km covered by mangroves, second only to the Sundarbans in West Bengal (2114 sq km). According to the same report, out of 14 districts of Gujarat, the top three in mangrove cover are Kutch (798.74 sq km), Jamnagar (231.26 sq km) and Bharuch (45.38 sq km). As a result of various efforts of the state government, the mangrove cover is continuously increasing in the entire state.


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